April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The Illinois State Police are are partnering with over 200 law enforcement agencies around the state this month to promote traffic safety and bring awareness to distracted driving. April is distracted driving awareness month around the country, and the Illinois State Police’s initiative this year is called “drop it and drive.” That is, put down your phone and focus on the road.

he 200 law enforcement agencies will be doing nothing but focusing on distracted driving. These special officer details that will on a grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”).

According to a personal injury lawyer, around 26,000 people died in U.S. crashes involving a distracted driver between 2012 and 2019. That is an incredible number, which has continued to rise since the advent of the smart phone. I will be interested to see what the number of tickets issued are during the month of April and whether this special initiative will actually decrease the number of distracted driving traffic accidents.

Everyone who has a smart phone knows how tempting it is to pick up your phone while in traffic to check an email or a text. Even a few seconds of looking into your phone can be incredibly dangerous. Along with the Illinois State Police, we encourage you to avoid that temptation and put your phone away while driving.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Ranked 3rd Most Congested City In U.S.

According to a new traffic study by INRIX, a private company that that analyzes traffic data and trends, has ranked Chicago the 3rd most congested U.S. city behind New York and Philadelphia. This is somewhat surprising news to those of us that have witness such light traffic around the city since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

There’s more bad news.. The study found that the inbound Interstate 290/294 to Interstate 90/94 interchange in downtown Chicago is the number 1 ranked most congested corridor in the country. That should come as no surprise due to the history of this interchange and the construction in that are over the last few years.

Finally, Chicago was ranked the 7th most congested city in world.

This is troubling news, and locals have to wonder is whether there will be any improvement. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot previously made changes to the city budget to improve and increase bike lanes and improve the bus lanes travelling in and out of downtown. The purpose was to hopefully decrease the number of rideshare vehicles. Unfortunately, those changes have improved Chicago’s ranking as a traffic congested city. We can only hope those changes slowly improve.

The other change that I hope will improve congestion will the completion of construction at the I-90/94 and I-290 interchange. Construction has closed exit lanes and made the traffic much worse. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. I guess we will have to wait to see if that will bring improvements to the traffic congestion.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois’ “Scott’s Law” Turns 18

“Scott’s Law,” enacted in Illinois in 2002, is aimed to protect first responders working in traffic and on roadways. The Law was named in honor of Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was struck and killed by a
drunk driver while assisting at a crash on a Chicago
Expressway.

The law specifically applies to drivers who approach a stationary emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing warning lights. The law requires that Illinois motorists must:

• Slow down;
• Drive with caution; and
• Move over to another lane. Reduce speed if changing
lanes is unsafe.

Illinois Motorists who enter a highway construction are must:
• Slow down;
• Discontinue wireless use; and
• Yield or change lanes away from any authorized vehicles
or workers in the area.

If you violate Scotts law and injure a first responder or worker you can face a $10,000.00 fine and spend time in prison.

Despite the law there have been record breaking violations in recent years. Illinois nearly hit a record high in Scott’s Law car crashes in 2019, with 26 crashes. Illinois State Police have addressed the media due to the recent number of violations. In 2020, District One, which covers Lee, Ogle, Whiteside and Carroll counties saw 48 violations. Illinois State Police are urging drivers who see first responders on roadways to remain alert, slow down, and move over.

This seems like common sense. You see an ambulance, police car or fire truck with their sirens on, you immediately pull over. Or if you are on a highway, you slow down and switch to the furthest lane. It’s unclear why drivers continue to violate the law and continue to injure police and first responders with their vehicles. Is it because of phone? Are people not paying attention. None of the media or research I have read indicates whether these are the causes. Regardless, I think there needs to be a public service push to let Illinois drivers know this is still the law, there a life and death consequences and that you could end up in jail.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Police Agency Ticket Quota Program

In POLICEMEN’S BENEVOLENT LABOR COMMITTEE, Appellee, v. THE CITY OF SPARTA, 2020 IL 125508, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the town of Sparta’s traffic ticket program for its’ police officers. The Sparta police department’s union sued over the city’s activity-points policy used for evaluating the performance of its police officers. The policy required all full-time officers to meet a monthly point minimum, based on actions that include issuing citations, making traffic stop warnings and taking on extra duty assignments.

The case was originally heard by the 5th district appellate court, which struck down the policy. The case was then appealed to the state supreme court, which upheld the 5th district’s opinion that the quota policy violated Illinois law. The law, undert the Illinois Municipal Code, that the police union argued was being violated states: ““A municipality may not require a police officer to issue a specific number of citations within a designated period of time … A municipality may not, for purposes of evaluating a police officer’s job performance, compare the number of citations issued by the police officer to the number of citations issued by any other police officer who has similar job duties.”

In the lawsuit, the city of Sparta argued that the policy did not violate the law because it does not mandate officers to write a specific number of citations during a certain period of time, and that officers could meet the monthly minimum without writing any citations.

The supreme cout disagreed stating in the opinion: ““The (Illinois Municipal Code), as it is currently written, expressly prohibits that practice, and the (code) must be enforced as written.” 

We will see if the city of Sparta and/or other police departments go back to the state legislature to lobby for a change in municipal code.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Annual Highway Report Ranks Illinois Roads 37th

According to the 2020 “Annual Highway Report” prepared by the Reason Foundation, Illinois’ roads ranked as the 37th worst in the country. The study factors pavement condition, traffic congestion, structurally deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, and spending per mile. Illinois ranks 32nd in structurally deficient bridges, 32nd in urban interstate pavement condition, and 42nd in capital and bridge costs per mile. Its worst category performance was traffic congestion, ranking 49th.

The only category that doesn’t surprise me is that Illinois ranks 49th in traffic congestion. That is easy to see for someone who lives in the Chicago area as we see traffic jams on our highways in and around the city everyday and just about all hours. Let’s hope that the completion of the 290/94 interchange construction will relieve some of that congestion.

Fortunately Illinois ranks fairly high regarding traffic safety. The state ranks 15th in overall fatality rate, 16th in rural fatality rate, and 22nd in urban fatality rate.

Let’s hope that the safety continues to improve and that the state can improve when it comes to categories like congestion and pavement conditions.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

DuPage County Closes Traffic Courts Through End Of Year

Covid-19 cases are rising at a dramatic pace in Illinois. We have seen a steep rise in the number of cases and in the positivity rate throughout the state. The DuPage County Chief Judge Daniel Guerin announced that they are taking steps to stop the spread of the virus by shutting down its’ traffic courts through December 31, 2020. The Chief Judge released the following regarding the shutdown: “In order to protect the health and safety of court employees and the general public, we decided that continuing traffic matters through the end of this year was the responsible and prudent step to take in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.”

The Downers Grove satellite court room and the two court rooms at the main courthouse in Wheaton. Cases will be rescheduled to dates at least 28 business days from their current dates. The court clerk will send notices via mail.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Mayor Lightfoot’s Budget Proposal Includes New Speed Camera Fine

Last week Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced her 2021 city budget. As usual, there was quite a bit of anticipation, but more so this year due to shortfalls that have come with the Covid-19 pandemic.

One interesting proposal includes a new speed camera fine that would ticket drivers going 6 mph over the speed limit. Speed cameras were originally introduced by pervious mayor, Rahm Emanual. They were implemented with a lot of skepticism despite Emanual’s repeated statements that they were implemented for safety reasons only. He was adamant that they were not a money grab for the city. Lightfoot has stated the same: speeding is “clearly a public safety issue” and stricter speed enforcement was necessary to keep motorists and pedestrians safe. She said “exponentially” more “speed-related accidents and deaths” in 2020 was the justification for the new ticket standard, which would start with a warning followed by a $35 ticket for a repeat offense.

This is interesting as data published by the Chicago Tribune , indicates that so far this year there are 20,000 less car crashes in the city compared to this time last year. There have been 28 more Chicago traffic fatalities this year compared to this time in 2019.

I think it is clear that the mayor is doing everything she can to come up with money for the budget shortfalls. I don’t necessarily blame her. But be aware as you’re driving around the city. There may be a camera tracking you and you may receive a ticket in the mail. Speeding, even slightly, could cost you money.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago car accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Teen Driving Deaths Down Drastically In Illinois

According to Illinois Secretary of State, teen traffic fatalities have decreased by 74% since 2007. According to data recently released to the media, there were 41 Illinois teen traffic deaths in 2019 and 48 in 2018. This is compared to 155 in 2007.

Why are they comparing the last two years to 2007? Well, in 2008 Illinois introduced the “graduated driver license” or the GDL, which includes three phases. The first phase is the “permit phase” for 15-year olds, followed by the “initial licensing phase” for 16-17 year olds. Then comes the final “full licensing phase” for those 18-20.

Here is what Illinois Secretary of State had to say about GDLs and the improved numbers: “The goal has always been to save lives. While our graduated driver licensing (GDL) program is working as intended with teen driving deaths decreasing, there is still more work to be done. My hope is that with hard work and continued open communication between my office, teens, parents and driver education teachers, teen fatalities will continue to decline.”

I am impressed by these numbers. The main reason is that the year this law went into effect, was the same time period the I-phone was introduced, which was the same time that the distracted driving epidemic began. We have to give the Illinois legislature and the Secretary of State’s office their credit as this GDL program seems to be working as slowly prepares young people with the training, skill and confidence to drive safely. Let’s hope this trend continues.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago car accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Inspector General Rips City’s Traffic Light Management

The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week on local Inspector General, Joe Ferguson’s, blistering report about multiple traffic management inssues within the city. The report states, in part, ““Rather than proactively maintaining and retiming traffic signals, [the city] conducts most of its work in response to 311 complaints, aldermanic requests and major construction projects,” the report concluded. “This approach to maintenance limits [Chicago’s] ability to address problems before they become hazardous or unnecessarily expensive to repair.”

The report also states that the traffic light management in Chicago is woefully understaffed. Chicag has four traffic signal engineers while federal recommendations say it should have 28, the report said. Also, Chicago has 27 traffic signal technicians, compared with a federal recommendation of 71.

This is not encouraging news for several reasons. First, this report reveals the lack of progress needed to meet previous mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Vision Zero” plan, which aimed at eliminated all pedestrian fatalities. Second, based on the city’s response, there doesn’t appear to be any urgent plan to correct these issues due to budgetary deficites. There were plans to install monitoring technology to 229 intersections, but that has been put on hold and will implemented over the next several decades.

I would like to wait and see Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s response to this report before casting too much blame. She has only been in office for a year and has had to respond to a global pandamic, protests and riots. I believe she will respond, but this was not a good report. Based on earlier budget decisions, it appeared that Lightfoot was focused on decreasing traffic congestion and making our streets safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. This report sheds light on issues that need to be addressed before the city can fully say they are committed to improving traffic safety, decreasing congestion and pollution. The ball is in her court.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Car Crashes Have Been More Severe During Covid-19 Shutdown

As many would suspect traffic is way down during the Covid-19 shutdown. There have been an estimated 70% less Chicago car accidents since the shelter in place order began in mid March. This comes as no surprise due to the lack of motorists on the road. Regardless, according to a personal injury attorney, we have seen an increase in the severity of Chicago car crashes. This has also led to the increase of people contacting personal injury law firm attorneys for guidance. If you have unfortunately gotten into a crash and need a quick repair, then consider going to this collision repair services for assistance that way you can get the proper auto repair, but for smaller incidents you can go to a professional paintless dent repair service for quick assistance.

According to some personal injury lawyers Northwestern’s study, found that after the stay-at-home order went into effect, the percentage of incapacitating or fatal crashes ticked up. “You had so much less traffic,” said NUTC Director Hani Mahmassani. “That was so unusual. You’re so used to driving very slowly on Chicago streets, so when you had that, people’s natural instinct was to speed up.” According to a car accident attorney, car accident cases have picked up not only in Chicago but throughout the country which is increasing the amount of people who need a personal injury lawyer.

Chicago and the state of Illinois are not alone with these numbers and according to many personal injury attorney firms, “In some states, anywhere from 50% to 70% less miles (are driven), but the fatalities are up,” said NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin. “We really need to get to the root cause and understand what the behavior is that’s causing this kind of disturbing spike in very severe crashes were owners have need the help from smash repairs Doncaster to take they cars out again.”

Why the increase in traffic fatalities and severe injuries? A personal injury attorney believes drivers feel at liberty to drive at excessive speeds as very few others are on the road. Local Chicago officials believe they have seen an uptick in speeders since the shutdown. According to this personal injury lawyer the Chicago Department of Transportation warned of a 14% of increases speeders on city roadways. The Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police said they’ve increased visibility and have some targeted patrol efforts. But Martin says road safety doesn’t just fall on law enforcement.

Even if there are less drivers on the road, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of others on the road. There are many who believe they can speed and drive recklessly when no one else is out there.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.