IDOT Releases April Traffic Numbers

Anyone who looks out their windows or gets in their cars and drives around Chicago’s expressways can see that motorist traffic is a fraction of what it was two (2) months ago. The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) confirmed what we see everyday as they released April traffic numbers. No surprise, they are way down.

According to IDOT traffic on Chicago area expressways was down anywhere from 29 to 45 percent this April compared with April 2019. IDOT said that on the Kennedy Expressway, the number of work week inbound vehicles dropped from 1.1 million vehicles to 626,000, a 45 percent drop. Statewide traffic is estimated to be down about 37 percent. Illinois Toll Highway Authority said April saw a reduction fo 55 percent in traffic volume, resulting in $52 million less in tolls than expected

For essential workers or those who choose to go into their offices are obviously seeing much faster commute times. According to IDOT the outbound evening rush hour are an average of 21 to 24 minutes faster. 

IDOT to not release any information regarding Illinois traffic accidents for April.

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

FDA RecallsZantac Heatburn Medication

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that they are recalling all over the counter and prescription rantidine drugs, which is known by the brand name Zantac. This also includes all generic versions of the drug. Importantly, the FDA advised consumers to stop taking any ranitidine tablets or liquid medications they currently have. 

The FDA announced in their recall that an ongoing study revealed

that levels of a contaminant in the heartburn medications increase over time and when stored at higher-than-normal temperatures, pose a risk to public health.The contaminant, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, is a probable human carcinogen and the FDA has been investigating levels of it in ranitidine since the summer of 2019. In short, studies have shown that prolonged used of Zantac (and its’ generic version) could cause certain forms of cancer.

If you have Zantac in you medicine cabinate, please stop taking it and throw it away immediately. If you believe you have a cancer diagnosis that could be linked to long term use of Zantac, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Are Red Light Cameras Finally Coming To An End In Illinois?

Over the past several years I have written numerous posts about the viability, corruption and safety concerns of red light cameras in and around Chicago. The red light cameras have been scrutinized by the press and scientific communities questioning whether they actually make intersections safer. In fact, a study by Texas A&M and the Chicago Tribune concluded that there was a net zero impact on the red light cameras in Chicago. This led many to conclude that the cameras were merely a money grab by the city.

Due recent corruption charges to various Cook County politicians, we may finally see a roll-back and possible elimination of red light cameras in Illinois. Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski resigned from his position within the County and also his position as mayor of suburbon McCook. hicago Department of Aviation and former top Illinois Department of Transportation official, Bill Helm, was charged with one count of bribery. Both of these individuals apparently have ties to State Senator Martin Sandoval, who plead guilty to charges that he took $250,000 in bribes from SafeSpeed LLC. as the red-light traffic camera company’s protector in the Senate and to help ensure the company was able to install red-light traffic cameras in Chicago suburbs.

The Illinois Legislature has had enough of the corruption and have recently passed bills that would cut down on the use of red light cameras, and possibly completely ban them. House Bill 322 was approved 84-4. non-home-rule communities would not be allowed to install the cameras in the future and would be required to remove any currently operational cameras by the beginning of 2021. That means 45 of the 101 communities in the state with red-light cameras would be forced to remove them.

Senate Bill 2902, if passed, would eliminate red light cameras in entirely throughout the state of Illinois. This is the bill I would like to see passed. I am not sure where Governor Pritzker stands on these bills. Based on the past corruption and the questionable viability as a safety measure, I do no see how these cameras are still allowed to be used in this state. I hope our lawmakers do the right thing.

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

New Study Looks At Causes For Electric Scooter Accidents

Electric Scooters have arrived in Chicago within the last month. There are thousands now available to rent around the city. As I wrote last month, the e-scooter program is similar to Divvy bicycles, which can be rented, picked up in one location and dropped off at another designated location. One major difference is that there are no designated pick up or drop off locations for e-scooters.

There has been quite a bit of news coverage the last few weeks regarding safety issues with these types of scooters. Within a few short days there were multiple traffic accidents reported, including a hit and run where a scooter apparently collided with a bicycle, leaving the bicyclist seriously injured. So, what is the main cause of e-scooter accidents? My initial guess would be that the average person does not know how to properly drive them, especially in areas with heavy traffic.

According to a study done by a personal injury lawyerin Austin, Texas by the Texas Department of Public Health, the main culprit for e-scooter accidents is rate of speed. The study analyzed incident reports from nine area hospitals between Sept. 2 and Nov. 30 of last year. During that time, 192 people were injured, including 160 who were using dockless scooters through the city program and 32 who were possibly riding on privately owned devices.  Of those injured, 48% reported a head injury, including fractures, abrasions and lacerations, the study showed. Fifteen percent had evidence suggestive of a traumatic brain injury. Just one of the people injured reported wearing a helmet. Riders seemed honest when saying what caused their injuries: 37% of those surveyed said excessive speed was a contributing factor. 

I think the study confirms my assumption that many first time riders do not know how to handle these types of scooters in traffic, if you have been involved in an accident recently let us recommend you panel beater auto repair shop. Specifically, they do no know when to slow down. I will be interested to see the statistics involved with e-scooter accidents in Chicago over the next year. Many parameters were put into place, including where the scooters could driven, and a ban on scooter use after 10:00 p.m. Let’s hope that the policies put into place will help protect those willing to jump on e-scooters and the pedestrians and bicyclists around them.

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

AAA Study: 13% Of Americans Do Not Think Driving High On Marijuana IS Dangerous

The American Automobile Association (“AAA”) released results of a study this week regarding the perceptions of marijuana use while driving. AAA surveyed 2,582 drivers and found more than 13% thought driving while high on marijuana was “only slightly dangerous” or “not dangerous at all” compared to driving while drunk, drowsy or impaired by prescription drugs. Among those surveyed, 70% said the odds of getting caught by police if you drive within an hour of consuming marijuana are low.

The study also revealed that nearly 15 million Americans admitted to driving within an hour of consuming marijuana, the AAA reported. Impairment from marijuana typically occurs quickly — within the first one to four hours of using the drug, AAA researchers said, adding that driving while stoned doubles the risk of a car crash.

This study comes on the heels of the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Illinois. Illinois Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law last week which will make marijuana legal in the state starting on January 1, 2020.

The question that many Illinois law enforcement agencies are now facing is how to deal with drivers who may be impaired while under the influence of marijuana. Unlike alcohol, there is no roadside breathalyzer that will detect marijuana use. Further, if the driver is detained and or arrested for erratic driving and then has their blood tested while in custody, there is no way to time stamp when the marijuana entered the driver’s system. Marijuana has been known to stay in a driver’s system for up to thirty (30) days, depending on frequency of use. Law enforcement will be tasked with this issue going forward and anticipate writing about this a lot in future once marijuana becomes legal and law enforcement agencies start announcing ways to deal with drivers who may be under the influence.

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

Navy Pier Flyover Lane Closed This Week

Those who use the lakefront path for biking, running or walking have notice all the construction that has occurred over the last four (4) years. This included a flyover lane that was raised above lake shore drive parallel to Navy Pier. This lane, which a portion was opened at the end of 2018, has lanes available for both bicyclists and pedestrian joggers and walkers.

I was pleased to see this addition to the lakefront as it prevents bicyclists and joggers from having to occupy a much more dangerous stretch of sidewalk below (Lower Lake Shore Drive), which is directly adjacent to traffic exiting and entering Lake Shore Drive. Not only is the sidewalk below close to vehicle traffic, but it is incredibly narrow and hard from bicycles and pedestrians to occupy it at the same time, especially on busy days.

The city announced late last week that the flyover lane will be closed today, June 24 through June 27, as workers lay down permanent lane striping. Along with the rest of the lakefront, the flyover will now also have separate lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The entire bridge is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. The flyover will span from at Ohio Street Beach and hug Lake Point Tower, clear the Ogden Slip, bypass Dusable Park and span the mouth of the Chicago River.

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

Chicago’s Electric Scooter Program Raises Safety Issues

On June 15 Chicago will launch its’ first electric scooter program. The scooters will be available to rent. The program will only allow use in designated areas between Irving Park and Pershing Roads. The Chicago Loop has specifically been omitted due to congestion and multiple other transportation options in the area. According to the city, one of the purposes of this program is an effort to “reduce single occupancy vehicle use.” 2,500 scooters will be available wherever it’s legal to lock a bike in public. They’re limited to 15 mph, and they will not be allowed on sidewalks.

Electric scooters in major metropolitan areas have created multiple safety concerns. Electric scooters are responsible for deaths in Dallas, Washington, D.C., Chula Vista, California, and Cleveland. A study, released in January by the Journal of the America Medical Association found of 249 emergency room patients in scooter accidents, most were head injuries, fractures, and soft-tissue injuries. One problem is a lack of helmets. Only 11% of patients under 18 and just over 4% of older riders wore a helmet. Two of those patients had severe head injuries and were placed in intensive care units.

Currently, there are no state laws in Illinois or local Chicago ordinances that require riders wear helmets. The good news is that the city has required the vendors to supply $5 million is insurance coverage per incident.

I have seen these scooters in other cities and for some riders, unfortunately, have not been easy to maneuver. I saw a woman fall down from her scooter in a parking lot and an ambulance had to be called. The problem I foresee is that Chicago is such a dense city. There are large amounts of vehicle and foot traffic in every neighborhood (not just the downtown loop). I hope this project works, but I think the city needs to watch this closely before expanding due to all the safety concerns. I would also like to see a local helmet requirement be put into place. The good news is there appears to be ample insurance in case there are electric scooter accidents that cause serious injuries.

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

Fiat Chrysler Issues Minivan Recall

Multiple news outlets reported this week that Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall of 208,000 Pacifica minivans due to a power-assisted steering and engine stall issues. The company stated that a wiring harness can become contaminated with sealer, causing an electrical short-circuit, which can increase the risk of a car crash. The company also stated that if the engines stall they can be restarted immediately, and the vehicles can still be steered without power steering, but it takes more effort. If you have a car that you do not use and want to get rid of it, then contact this company that gives cash for junk cars.

Luckily, to date, no traffic accidents or traffic fatalities have been reported. If you own one of these vehicle, please take your vehicle in to your dealer to have it serviced and the parts replaced immediately.

In cases like this, where an auto accident occurs due to a malfunction from the from the vehicle’s equipment and it can proved that the malfunction caused the accident to occur, then the manufacturer can ultimately be liable for any damages. These are typically considered “auto defect” cases, where the injured party files suit against the automaker and at times the manufacturer and distributor of the actual piece of equipment that is deemed defective. If you have been injured by what appears to be an auto defect, then you should consult an attorney immediately.

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

New Study Shows Ride Share Companies Have Increased Traffic Congestion

A new study published this week by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the University of Kentucky, found that ride-share cars were responsible for more than half of the increase of traffic congestion in the city of San Francisco . The study, which was published in
journal “Science Advances,” concluded that commuters spent 62 percent more time in traffic in 2016 than they did in 2010, which was the year ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft became available in San Francisco.

The researchers tracked ride-share pickups and drop-offs in San Francisco during a six-week period in 2016. They found that most occurred in parts of the city that already were highly congested and at times when traffic was at its worst, concluding that rather than taking cars off the road, ride-share apps were increasing traffic congestion in downtown San Francisco.

After finding that traffic levels in San Francisco had increased sharply from 2010 to 2016, researchers used a computer simulation to show how traffic would have changed over the same six-year period in the absence of ride-sharing and found that traffic rose only 22 percent in the “counterfactual” model.

These results lead us to conclude that transportation network companies are the biggest factor driving the rapid growth of congestion and deterioration of travel time reliability in San Francisco,” the researchers wrote. “These findings are of interest to transportation planners, to policy makers and to the general public in San Francisco and other large cities.”

The question remains, what do major cities like Chicago do with this data? Can Chicago transportation officials conclude that the continued traffic congestion in our city is being caused by the influx in ride share users? I think it is pretty clear cities like Chicago need to continue to invest in public transportation. They have done so in the past few years, but improvements are still needed. I think city officials need to consider additional train lines that could cover more parts of the West and Northwest sides of the city. Further, city officials along with CTA, need to focus on making public transportation as smooth, safe and enjoyable for rider as possible. They should attempt to make the rider want to use a bus or train (i.e. making the stations safe as possible along with shorter commute times).

Also, the city needs to continue, as it has done, to invest in bicycle lanes and bike sharing. This was a major focus of Rahm Emanuel’s administration. Let’s hope that incomiming mayor Lori Lightfoot continues to invest in these initiatives.

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

Chicago Department of Transportation Launched New Traffic App: ChiStreetWorks

Those who live in Chicago know how bad traffic is in this city. It can be incredibly stressful, especially during summer months as there seem to be an abnormally high number of people on the road. The cities’ Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) has launched a new web based application call ChiStreetWorks with the purpose of helping drivers plan their trips in order to avoid major traffic jams.

The new App allows you to see past, current and future projects, as well as view permits for water, sewer, gas or electrical projects impacting City streets. The website went live to the public on Tuesday.

The map also provides users with features such as bus routes and stops, parking impacts, bike lanes, viaduct heights, speed and red light camera locations, and current traffic conditions. It also allows you to view where special events are taking place. 

Users can browse specific areas of the city by searching by neighborhood, ward, ZIP code, street intersection, or address and then select which categories of data they want to see: construction projects, utility-related permits, resurfacing memorandums, events impacting traffic, street closures, and detours. There’s also a tool to filter results by time to show activity from the past month or up to one year in the future.

This is a great initiative by the city, which provides much more detail than a typical Google or Apple Maps. We will see if it helps free up traffic and hopefully decrease the number of traffic accidents in the area.

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