Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Release 2021 Report

Traffic safety advocacy group, Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, released their 2021 report called the “Road Map.” The report analyzes traffic safety and traffic safety laws in all 50 states.

There were less people on the road in 2020 but according to the report, that did not lead to safer streets and highways. “Moreover, preliminary 2020 estimates show that while overall miles traveled are down, the fatality rate has jumped dramatically,” said Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

The group gave Illinois a grade of yellow, which means safety improvements are needed. Below is a list of recommendations the group provided to the state:

  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
  • Booster Seat Law
  • GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDL – Stronger Nighttime Restriction Provision
  • GDL- Stronger Passenger Restriction Provision
  • GDL- Age 18 for Unrestricted License

Below is a list of laws the group believes Illinois is doing correctly:

  • Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front & Rear)
  • GDL – 6-Month Holding Period Provision
  • GDL – 50 Hours of Supervised Driving Provision
  • GDL – Cell Phone Restriction
  • IID for All Offenders
  • Child Endangerment Law
  • Open Container Law
  • All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction
  • Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law

One suggestion they did not provide was for stricter texting and driving laws and penalties. As I discussed on this site last week, the Illinois legislature has done their part of strengthening traffic penalties for caught texting and driving during an accident. I will be watching the state legislature closely over the next year to see if they implement any of the suggestions made by Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety.

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

NHTSA Orders GM To Recall 5.9 Million Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) announced this week that General Motors is to recall up to 5.9 vehicles due to a defect in the Takata airbags in many of their lines of vehicles.

The NHTSA states that GM must recall their 2007-2014 model year trucks and SUVs because the inflators in the airbags “are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators.”

The defect, which leads in rare instances to air bag inflators rupturing and sending potentially deadly metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in U.S. history of about 63 million inflators. Worldwide, about 100 million inflators by 19 major automakers were recalled. The vehicles in the recall includes some Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon vehicles built over an eight-year period.

GM has denied that the airbags are defective and that the do not pose a risk drivers. Regardless, they have stated they will comply and make the necessary changes.

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

Illinois Traffic Accidents and Congestion Increasing Despite Covid-19 Shutdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry, the public sector and pretty much all aspects of our lives. When the pandemic started and the shelter in place order was announced by Governor JB Pritzker, traffic congestion and car accidents decreased dramatically.

The state slowly began opening back up again and traffic levels have increased in Chicago and throughout the state. They are still not and pre-pandemic levels, but as you drive around the city you are seeing much more congestion and the numbers back it up, which has been the reason for more car accidents, according to a car accident doctor.

Despit the record low levels of traffic from March through May, the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) has reported 786 fatalities in vehicle crashes, a 16-person increase from 770 on Oct. 11, 2019.

This is an unusual trend that IDOT spokeswoman, Maria Castaneda, tried to explain recently: “While we can’t speculate and don’t know all the reasons why the overall numbers are aligning from last year with fewer cars on the roads, anecdotally we have noticed an increase in higher speeds,” C

Illinois State Police Sgt. Christopher Wilson added, “it is extremely difficult to make assumptions as to traffic trends, and even more difficult in these unprecedented times as we have no frame of reference to compare.”

So we are seeing more traffic on the road but not nearly as much as last year, yet Illinois traffic fatalities are at a higher rate than a year ago. According to a car accident lawyer, motorists are driving faster than normal, and are thus putting themselves in a much more dangerous situations. I would like to see more analysis than what IDOT has provided so we can understand why accidents, including deaths, have not gone down despite less traffic on the road. Do these accidents involve distracted drivers or texting and driving? If your car was severely damaged, are you in need of panel beaters? Was weather a factor? Driving too fast. Hopefully IDOT will provide us with a better understanding by the end of the year.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076 or contact us through our website at www.blgchicago.com.

Suburban Chicago Police Departments Focused On Driver Safety Over Halloween

According to Patch.com, the St. Charles and Crystal Lake, Illinois police departments are cracking down on drunk drivers and taking extra precautions to promote safety for Halloween on Thursday.

The St. Charles and Crystal Lake police departments announced they will be conducting DUI and seat belt enforcement, in support of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP). According to a police department news release, motorists are reminded to fasten their seat belts or risk receiving a ticket, during the campaign period, which continues through Nov. 3. The enforcement campaign is taking place along with the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over/Click It or Ticket programs.

The Crystal Lake police also provided the following tips to help make everyone’s Halloween more safe:

Plan a safe way to get home before you attend a party.
-Give your designated driver your keys before you go out.
-If you are drunk or impaired by marijuana or other drugs, call a taxi, take mass transit, use your favorite ride-sharing service, or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.
-Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement by pulling over and dialing 911.
-Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears their seat belt. Not only is it the law, it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.

If you or a loved one have 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.

New Study Details Chicago’s Traffic Congestion

Multiple news outlets reported this week that Chicago drivers spend a total of three (3) days a year caught in traffic. This is the 8th worst total in the U.S. These findings come from a study prepared by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, who published their findings last week.

On average Chicago drivers spend 73 hours a year stuck in traffic. The report found that traffic delays cost commuters $1,307 per year.

Those of us who live in Chicago are probably not surprised by these numbers. There always seems to be heavy traffic on the main highways and on Lake Shore Drive, regardless of the time or the day of the week. Experts have stated in the past and continue to state that the main cause of traffic congestion is that more people are working than ever. The economy remains strong and the majority of households have duel incomes.

The only solution appears to be alternative mass transit options. The irony with Chicago is that we already have some of the best train and bus lines in the country. The CTA provides multiple train line options into downtown from all directions along with a constant flow of buses. Those who live in the suburbs have the Metra train lines. Also, over the last 15 to 20 years Chicago has added more dedicated bike lanes than any other major metropolitan city. The only other option appears to be building more roads, but experts have said that this only contributes to the problem. I guess some people will seek employment that allows them to work remotely or from home. Right now I do not see any real solutions for traffic congestion in Chicago.

If you or a loved one have become 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.

Saliva Tests For Drug Detection In Illinois Raises More Questions Than Answers

I wrote earlier this week about the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois. As I mentioned in the article, state police and individual police departments will be tasked with determining whether drivers are impaired by more than just alcohol. This will be difficult because marijuana can stay in someones blood for up to 30 days, and sometimes longer depending on how frequent someone uses the drug. In case the frequency is high they will be sent to a rehab center for example, Arizona has recovery delivered clinics.

One police department, Carol Stream, has started a pilot program to test saliva of drivers who have already been arrested. The program is being funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”).  An officer currently determines whether a driver is impaired at the scene, brings that driver back to the police station, administers a chemical test (blood or urine) and then the saliva test is offered on a voluntary basis. It does not affect that person’s case and is just part of a study. The testing has not been approved to be used roadside.

Let me be clear, I have a lot of problems with this program, and a lot of questions need to be answered. First, readers should realize that there are 4th amendment (illegal search and seizure) violation issues that arise with this type of testing. If someone is pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, they do not have to submit to a breathalyzer test. No police officer can force you to take that test. Although, the saliva test has not been approved for roadside use, there will never be a time where I believe courts will confirm that forcing this type of test when someone is pulled over would be legal under the 4th amendment. Also, a driver does not have to submit to a blood test either. Although, if someone is arrested, a police officer can seek a warrant to take someone’s blood sample. Again, will the police be able to seek a warrant for a saliva test as well? I do not believe these types of warrants should be allowed unless or until the accuracy of these tests passes scientific measure. Again, how accurate are these tests? I don’t think we know yet.

Without knowing more, I cannot endorse this type of saliva testing by police departments. Remember, if you do get pulled over, you do have rights. You do not have to submit to any of these tests without a proper warrant. Also, always contact an attorney if you have been arrested. You have rights, and one of those is to defend yourself against charges to DUI and against illegal searches and seizures.

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

New Illinois Bill No Longer Requires Ticketed Drivers Hand Over License As Bail

The Chicago Tribune reported last month about a new bill that was signed into Illinois law that no longer requires drivers cited for traffic violations hand over their license to the Court as bail bondsman insuring they attend court or pay their fine. According to bail bond agents, certain speeding violations and other moving violations such as causing an accident would require the ticketed driver hand over their license to the police officer as bail. The arrest bail bonds said the driver would have their license returned to them by the judge at court after either pleading guilty or after the ticket was dismissed.

Senate Bill 2583, sponsored by Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and State Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015. “A driver’s license is an important form of identification, and without it many residents may run into problems during everyday situations when a valid ID is required,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. “This common sense legislation will allow law enforcement officials to continue doing their jobs while letting motorists hang onto a vital piece of identification.”

I think this bill makes sense and held little leverage over the heads of ticketed drivers. Drivers know, or at least soon find out, that failing to show up for court or paying their fine could lead to a suspended driver’s license or sometimes a warrant for their arrest.

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