Illinois Traffic Deaths Up From This Time Last Year

Traffic levels are slowly edging back to pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, traffic deaths around the country and in Illinois have risen sharply as well. The Chicago Sun Times reported yestderday that there were 280 traffic fatalities during the first quarter of the year, a 24% jump from the same time in 2021.T There were 584 traffic fatalities through the first six months of 2022. That’s an 8% increase compared to the first half of 2021 and a 32% jump from 2020. The NHTSA won’t finalize counts until the end of the year.

According to the article and to the National Safety Council, U.S. roads appear to be more dangerous than they were prior to the pandemic. Many experts opined early on in the pandemic that the open roads were encouraged many drivers to exceed speed limits and drive more recklessly. Now that traffic levels are closer to normal, what could be causing all this erradic driving?

Experts have warned about speeding and drinking and driving, but I believe the focus needs to remain on distracted driving as well. Having your phone in your hand and looking away from the road for split second is all it takes sometimes. I highly encourage all drivers put their phones down when behind the wheel and focus on the road.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago accident attorneys at the Bryant Law Group, LLC, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Hyundai And Kia SUVs Recalled For Potential Fire Hazard

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) announced last week the recall of 245,030 Model Year 2020-2022 Hyundai Palisade vehicles and  36,417 Model Year 2020-2022 Kia Telluride vehicles regarding a potential fire hazard due to a component added by some dealerships.

An accessory tow hitch sold through dealerships may allow moisture into the harness module, causing a short circuit. In some cases, an electrical short can cause a vehicle fire while driving or while parked and turned off.

Luckily, to date, there have been no report of fires, injuries or deaths. The NHTSA is also recommending all of these vehicles be parked outside and away from homes until they can be properly repaired.

As an interim repair, Hyundai dealers will inspect the tow hitch module and remove the fuse, as necessary. An interim repair is not available for Kia vehicles.

The recall repair is under development. When a repair is available, all owners of vehicles potentially equipped with affected trailer hitch wiring harnesses will be notified by mail with instructions to bring their vehicles to a Hyundai or Kia dealer. 

If you own one of these vehicles, it’s important to follow the NHTSA instructions and to notify a Hyundia or Kian dealer as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injury in a Chicago product defect case or Chicago car crash, then call the personal injury attorneys at the Bryant Law Group, LLC for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

U.S. Traffic Deaths Continue to Rise In 2022

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), 9,650 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the first 3 months of this year. This is a 7% increase over the year before. It is also the highest first quarter since 2002.

No doubt the ending of covid restrictions has contributed to these rising numbers as more people are out on the roads. People drove about 40 billion more miles in the first quarter than a year earlier, a 5.6% increase, the NHTSA said. But the rate of traffic deaths per 100 million miles traveled also increased during the quarter from 1.25 deaths to 1.27, according to the agency.

The question is why do these numbers continue to increase, and how do we help reduce these numbers. According to the NHTSA, a significant protion of the $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill will be dedicated to making the roads safer and accident prevention.

started running ads urging people to slow down and not to drive while impaired. On Wednesday, it announced the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign for Labor Day weekend, which focuses on preventing impaired driving and improving safety on the roads with local police for the weeks around the end-of-summer holiday.

The NHTSA has also launched a public education campaign to address speeding, which is called “one of America’s most dangerous driving behaviors.” The “Speeding Wrecks Lives” campaign, which aims to change general attitudes toward speeding and remind drivers of the deadly consequences.

I’m a little dubious of these Ad campaigns as they have been running these for years, yet the numbers continue to increase. I would like to see more resources and focus on distracted driving as well as impaired driving. Let’s hope the investment from the infrastructure bill works as we need to see these numbers turn around.

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

Illinois Governor Announces $36.4 Billion Investment In Transportation Infrastructure

Illinois Governer JB Pritzker announced at a press conference today that over $36 billion will be dedication to the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”). The funding comes from the bipartison federal infrastructure bill that based the U.S. House and Senate last year.

Pritzker is named this infrastructure plan “Rebuild Illinois The money will be used for highway reconstruction and bridge improvements, along with safety and system modernizations.

Below is a general breakdown where the money will be going:

  • $25.4 billion for Illinois’ roads and bridges.
  • $1.4 billion for major rail projects and added Grade Crossing Protection projects.
  • $150 million for aeronautic facility improvements.
  • $150 million in new funding for port improvements.

This is an incredible investment into our state that will hopefully make the roads safer, efficient and will also create thousands of new jobs. The one thing I would have like to hear more about is how any of this money will be used to help free up traffic in and around Chicago. I believe that is the plan, but I would have appreciated more specifics.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured a Chicago car crash or Chicago car accident, please call the The Bryant Law Group for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Tips To Remember When Involved In A Traffic Accident

We are in the heart of summer vacation and there a lot of motorists out on the road. Numbers are indicating that the country is inching closer to pre-pandemic levels of travel.

A car accident or a truck accident can be a very stressful moment for many people. It’s improtant to keep your cool and think rationally if you have been involvedin a car crash. Below is a comprehensive list of things you should and should not do if you are involved in a traffic accident.

• Do get names, addresses, license plate and phone numbers of those drivers involved. This includes any witnesses.
• Do call the police immediately or have someone at the scene call for you;
• Do take photographs of scene and your injuries;
• Do take care of your injuries-concentrate on getting better (i.e. go to the emergency room or set an appointment with your primary care physician);
• Do keep records of your medical treatment and time missed from work;       

• Do make sure to purchase adequate full coverage auto insurance, including uninsured motorist coverage in case you are struck by an uninsured driver or the victim of a hit and run;
• Do not talk or give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company;
• Don’t attempt to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company before your medical treatment is completed;
• Don’t wait months from the date of injury before hiring an attorney, as your right to file claim or lawsuit may be barred; and
• Don’t wait days or weeks from the time you are injured to seek medical attention. Your health comes first and also insurance companies are wary of paying for medical bills if treatment is postponed.

This is not an exhaustive list, but they are simple steps you can take in order to protect your rights as an accident victim. 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, at 312-614-1076 for a free legal consultation.

Chicago City Council Passes Ordinance To Curb Drag Racing

If you live in the West Loop or were out and about there last weekend, you were probably startled to see the huge crowds of people and vehicles congregating. Those cars were drag racing and drifting (often referred to donuts). Video clips played on the local news showed how close these vehicles were to striking a pedestrian. That and the incredibly loud noises caused a lot of complaints from West Loop neighbors and business owners.

42nd Ward Alderman, Brendan Reilly, looked to hopefully put an end to this issue. He sponsored a bill, which passed today, which allows police to use picture and video evidence and camera detection of license plates for cars to track down vehicles and impound them. It would mean a $5,000 fine to get that vehicle out of the impound lot. Reilly stated the following on the new ordinance: “With the investments that my colleagues and I have been making in infrastructure for the police, like license plate reading cameras, these cars will pop up as hot — as drag racers — and so using camera systems in good detective work, we can find where these folks are parking these cars and take them, whether they are not…  So I do think this will be an effective tool. Our police commanders of told us they’re going to take full advantage of it.”

I think this is a good measure, but it may be a little tougher to actually impound the vehicles as the following steps need to take place prior to impounding a vehicle:

• Before impounding a car, police are required to mail the car owner a “notice of intent to impound.”

• The notice would include a statement of probable cause, police report, description of vehicle, and the date and time of violation.

• The car owner would have the right to contest the impoundment.

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.

“Rebuild Illinois” Infrastructure Projects Underway In Champaign County

I think it’s fair to say that most driver’s troughout Illinois are tired of crumbling roads. They are sick of potholes. They are frightened of old rickety bridges. If you drive on I-55 from Chicago to Springfield and all the way to St. Louis, there are sections of that highway that are completey unsafe. The same can be said for I-57. Hopefully these complaints will be coming to an end as Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s infrastructure planned titled “Rebuild Illinois” is taking affect. WCIA recently reported nine projects are either underway or scheduled to start soon throughout Champaign County.

Rebuild Illinois, which was signed into law three years ago by Governor Pritzker is supposed to be an answer to the old roads and bridges throughout the state. Rebuild Illinois is a $45 billion investments in roads, bridges, railroads, universities, early childhood centers and state facilities over six years.

Below are a list of projects in Champaign County, which cost total about $270 million:

  • Interstate 74 bridges over Canadian National Railroad and Market Street in Champaign: Deck repairs began in August of 2020 and are expected to finish this fall. Two lanes of traffic remain open in each direction.
  • Interstate 74 west of St. Joseph: Bridge deck repairs are underway and are expected to be complete in December. There are permanent lane closures with a barrier wall.
  • U.S. Route 150 from County Road 2350 E in St. Joseph to the Vermilion County line: Road resurfacing began this month and will end in September. Intermittent lane closures will occur every day of the project.
  • Interstate 57 from Rantoul to Thomasboro: Resurfacing began this month and will end in December. Daily lane closures will occur.
  • Interstate 57 from Rantoul to the Ford County line: Resurfacing begins in August and will continue into next summer. Daily lane closures will occur.
  • U.S. Route 45 from Saline Branch Ditch to just north of Olympian Drive: Installation of new shoulders and rumble strips will begin in July and will be complete in September. Intermittent lane closures will occur every day of the project.
  • Intersection of U.S. Route 150 and Illinois Route 49 in Ogden: Drainage improvements will begin in August and will end in December. Intermittent lane closures will occur every day of the project.

These projects to repair roads and bridges are incredibly important to the state. They create a safer driving experience for everyone. Hopefully the safer roads and bridges will lead to less traffic accidents and traffic fatalities. An addded bonus is that Rebuild Illinois is also creating thousands of well paying jobs.

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

Illinois Supreme Court Issues Favorable Ruling For Those Injured By Companies and Their Employees

In McQueen v. Green 2022 IL 126666, the Plaintiff was a driver who was injured after being struck by a truck. The Plaintiff McQueen sued both the driver and his employer, Pan-Oceanic. The defendant employer admitted that the defendant driver, Green, was its’ employee and was within the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred. The Plaintiff also alleged in his complaint that Pan-Oceanic was negligent for ordering Green to drive the truck immediately prior to the accident, despite being informed by Green that the trailer had been improperly loaded. At trial, an Illinois jury found in favor for the Plaintiff against the employer but also found that the defendant driver was not liable. The defendant employer appealed, arguing that the verdict was inconsistent. The defendant argued that Pan-Oceanic could not be held liable for the Plaintiff’s damages if their employee was not found liable. The appelate court agreed and over-turned the jury’s verdict.

The Plaintiff then appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, who then issued their opinion on April 22 of this year that it is “settled law” that a plaintiff may plead and prove multiple causes of action and that, so long as there is a good-faith factual basis for a plaintiff’s claim of direct negligence against an employer, the plaintiff is allowed to pursue that claim in addition to a claim of vicarious liability against the employee. The Supreme Court held that the verdicts were not inconsistent because they involve two (2) theories of negligence. First, that the Plaintiff alleged that the employee/driver drove the truck negligently when he allowed the trailer to swing and hit the Plaintiff’s vehicle. And second, the Plaintiff alleged that the employer was negligent because they new that the trailer had been loaded improperly and knew it was dangerous, yet still order their driver to get on the highway and bring the trailor back. The Supreme Court reinstated the jury’s verdict. This was the right decision by Illinois’ highest court. It is perfectly plausible for an employee driver to do nothing wrong, but still cause an accident because their employer ordered them to drive a truck that was inherinty dangerous for being loaded improperly. As long as separate counts are brought against the driver and the employer (which was done in this case), the Court came to the proper conclusion. This is a victory for injury victims in Illinois.

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

Did The Pandemic Help Cause The Surge In Traffic Fatalities

I have written about the ebbs and flows of traffic patterns in Illinois and accross the U.S. since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Back in the summer of 2020 data showed predictably that traffic was way down once the pandemic shutdown began. Despite much fewer drivers on the road, there was a significan uptick in reckless driving accident. Observers and experts believed that with fewer cars on the road, drivers were more emboldened to drive faster.

We are almost two year in to the pandemic and the numbers for traffic fatalities, and specifically pedestrian traffic deaths are staggering. According to the New York Times Crashes killed more than 6,700 pedestrians in 2020, up about 5 percent from the estimated 6,412 the year before, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. These numbers are somewhat misleading because there was much less traffic on the road in 2020. Another study concluded that it was actually a 21% increase in pedestrian deaths based on the number of drivers. Although, we don’t have the numbers yet, it looks like there was another increase in 2021.

What is causing this behavior in drivers and how can we prevent it? One expert quoted by the Times believes it has to do with the number of aging drivers and the large number of SUVs on the roads which are much larger and carry a heavier impact. Others point to the increase in street racing and irratic driving. There’s no doubt those are all contributing factors. One point the article did not raise is the increase in distracted drivers. Many people still refuse to put their phones down while driving. Although the penalties for driving while texting in Illinois have become more strict over the last ten years, there’s still an argument for higher fines. Especially in situations involving injury or deat.

But has the pandemic actually led to this rise in fatalities? I don’t think we’ll know for several years. There will need to be a hard look at all the numbers as to whether alcohol was involved or whether these accidents involved excessive speeds. Regardless, i think this is an epimic right now and will continue to until we see these numbers go down.

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

Tesla Vehicles Recalled For Rolling Stop Signs

Multiple new outlets, including the Associated Press, announced this week that that oveer 54,000 Tesla vehicles are being recalled because their “Full Self-Driving” software lets them roll through stop signs without coming to a complete halt.

The recall shows that Tesla programmed its vehicles to violate the law in most states, where police will ticket drivers for disregarding stop signs. The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, said it is not aware of any state where a rolling stop is legal.

The recall covers Model S sedans and X SUVs from 2016 through 2022, as well as 2017 to 2022 Model 3 sedans and 2020 through 2022 Model Y SUVs.

Tesla agreed to the recall after receiving feed back from the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The NHTSA says failing to stop for a sign can increase the risk of a crash. “The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects posing unreasonable risks to safety, including intentional design choices that are unsafe,” the agency said. “If the information shows that a safety risk may exist, NHTSA will act immediately.”

This seems like a sneaky move by Tesla to include “rolling stop sign” in their software. It is true that a lot of drivers probably roll through a stop sign when it seem safe and no other cars are around. But what if the Tesla was in auto-pilot mode in a four-way intersection and the driver isn’t paying attention? I agree with the NHTSA that this is unsafe. Tesla did release a statement that there were no recorded traffic accidents resulting from the “rolling stop sign” mode.

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.