Illinois Traffic Deaths Up In 2020 Despite Pandemic Lockdown

2020 saw most people staying home and away from the roads for most of the year due to the pandemic lockdown. Despite the decrase in traffic throughout the state, 2020 saw the most Illinois traffic fatalities since 2020.

According to the Chicago Trubune, 1,166 people died in car crashes in 2020, which is highest number reported since 2007 and about 16 percent higher than the previous year. If a loved one unfortunately passes away in a car crash, you can always get help from a funeral home so they can plan the funeral while you and your family have time to grieve.

According to Top Driver, one of the country’s largest driving schools, most of Illinois’ traffic deaths do not occur on interstate highways but rather on city streets.. As of July, about a quarter of traffic fatalities involved pedestrians. About the same number more involved unlicensed drivers. And more than a third involved drivers who were not wearing their seatbelts.

If there is less traffic on the roads how in the world did we see such a sharp increase in deaths? According to Top Driver’s website, it has to do with increased driving speeds: “There is something to be said about traffic congestion — it helps maintain or decrease speed..”Decreased traffic has given Illinois drivers a false sense of security. Drivers perceive the open roads to be safe and think increased speed is okay, but this isn’t the case. If it were, we wouldn’t see an increase in fatalities. Before you embark upon your next cross country trip or even just a short commute to work, slow down and remain self-aware. Due diligence and proactive driving can not only keep you safe, but also allow healthcare workers to focus on treating ill patients instead of a preventable car crash.”

Just because the roads are open that does not mean Illinois drivers should treat the streets (or highways) like the autobahn. Nor should drivers feel like it’s ok to pick up their phones when behind the wheel.

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

New Illinois Traffic Laws For 2020 and 2021

The Illinois legislature passed and the governor signed into law two (2) important new traffic laws in 2020 that went into effect in 2020. I will also discuss a local Chicago ordinance that went into effect in the new year.

First, as I have been writing about on this blog for years, the Illinois legislature finally stiffened the texting and driving penalties when the accident causes serious injury to another party. Beginning on July 1, 2020 the Illinois secretary of state was enabled to revoke driving privileges for one year when a driver causes “great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement” due to use of an electronic communication device. The offense is also subject to a minimum $1,000 fine. Electronic communication devices include hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or portable or mobile computer. It does not include a GPS or a device that is electronically integrated into the vehicle. 

Second, stronger penalties were enacted for drivers who injured a pedestrian while walking in a cross-walk. This new law establishes a 12-month license suspension for a motorist who, while violating the right-of-way at crosswalks and in school zones, causes serious injury to another person. This law also went into effect on July 1, 2020.

Finally, as I discussed a few months back, part of the city of Chicago’s 2021 budget included increased fines for drivers caught on speeder cameras driving 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. The plan states those driving six miles per hour over posted speed limits would get a warning. If a driver is caught twice, they would then receive a $35 ticket in the mail.   This new ordinance took effect in 2021.

If you or a loved one have been has been seriously injured in a Chicago truck crash or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, 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.

Illinois State Police Renew ‘Click It Or Ticket’ Campaign

According to a motor vehicle accident lawyer, the Illinois State Police (“ISP”) have rolled out their ‘Click-It or Ticket’ traffic campaign for November. State police are focused on motorist safety as traffic congestion has ticked from earlier in the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic shut down.

In November, the ISP will increase their daytime and nighttime patrols to ensure the safety of vehicle travelers through enforcement of all traffic safety laws. 

– Driving Under the Influence (DUI);
– Safety Belt and Child Restraint use;
– Speeding; and
– Distracted Driving

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, impaired driving is a factor in more than 30 percent of traffic deaths in Illinois. Likewise, speeding is a factor in nearly 35 percent of fatal crashes; and, nearly 50 percent of vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were known to not be wearing a seatbelt. No matter what time of year it is remember to buckle up and put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. You will save your own life and protect your passengers and those around you.

If you or a loved one has 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.

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.

Chicago Police Conduct Roadside Stops Based On Stay At Home Order

The Chicago Police announced this week that they would be conducting roadside safety checks pertaining to the “stay at home order” issued by Governor JB Pritzker. The “stay at home order” was issued due to the outbreak of the Covid – 19 virus. The “stay at home” order lasts until April 30.

I interpret this as something similar to a DUI checkpoint that police often set up to prevent drinking and driving. DUI checkpoints, which are random stops of vehicles primarily on weekend nights, have been ruled as constitutional as the public safety concern outweighs the 4th amendment search and seizure protections. It seems the Chicago Police are using the same reasoning behing this type of roadside stop as they don’t want people out on the road who don’t need to be.

The Governor’s order provided the following exceptions for essential travel outside of homes:

-Performing essential activities, governmental functions, business and operations

-Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons

-Receiving materials for distance learning, receiving meals and any other related services from an educational institution.

-Returning to a place of residence from outside of jurisdiction

-Following the direction of law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement

-Returning to a place of residence outside the state for non-resident

The announcement did not state how long these roadside checks would last or where exactly in the city they would set up. I’d imagine they would set up on busy roadways like Lakeshore Drive and/or busy exits on and off the Eisenhower and Kennedy.

If you or someone you love 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 312-1614-1076 or go to www.blgchicago.com

Illinois Adds Zipper Merge To Its’ Rules Of The Road

I wrote in the my last post about the new Illinois traffic laws that went into effect at the beginning of the year. One of those new laws is the inclusion into the Illinois rules of the is is known as the zipper merge. The Illinois Rules of Road handbook for student drivers will now include an explanation of a zipper merge.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”), a zipper merge is when there is a lane closure due to the recent construction by a DX2 or a traffic accident, drivers are to fill in both lanes all the way up to the merge point, at which point motorists will then have to take turns merging into the single lane. Traffic experts believe that is the quickest way to get through construction sites and entrances on highways during busy season. According to a 2013 Minnesota study, using the zipper merge reduces the length of traffic backups by as much as 40%, reduces congestion, creates a sense of fairness with everyone moving at the same speed, and reduces road rage.

This is the opposite of how most drivers have been operating for years. Typically, most drivers will get in line the lane that remains open after the merge. The challenge for the state is re-training drivers that the most efficient and safe way to drive is to fill both lanes. That is why all new drivers are learning this new method in the Rules of the Road handbook.

It will be interesting to see if motorists follow this new method as we see road construction all over the Chicago area during the spring and summer. I will also be looking to see if IDOT includes specific signage at construction sites that indicates to drivers that both lanes are available and should be used up until the merge point.

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 Illinois Traffic Laws For 2020

It is 2020 and several new traffic laws took effect at the beginning of this year so we will like to first recommend the traffic lawyers Melbourne firm services. Most significantly, Scott’s Law, a traffic measure to protect police and safety workers, was provided some new tweaks. In order to avoid consequences of a DUI arrest, you need to contact the Best Seattle DUI Attorney at olkd.com. The original law, also known as the “move over law,” requires drivers to reduce speed and switch lanes to give first-responders on the side of the road more space when their hazard lights are flashing. Due to the tragic deaths of 2 Illinois State Troopers in 2019, the Illinois general assembly made the following changes to Scott’s Law:

-The minimum fine for violating Scott’s Law will increase from $100 to $250 for the first violation, and $750 for the second violation.

-Those who violate Scott’s Law and cause an injury or death will be charged with a Class 4 felony.

-The Scott’s Law Fund will be created to educate motorists on the importance of Scott’s Law. This will be funded by a $250 assessment fee for any violation of Scott’s Law.

-The Illinois Secretary of State will be required to include at least one question about Scott’s Law on the written driving test.

Below are some of the other new traffic laws:

Construction Zone (SB 1496) – Increase the maximum penalty for hitting a construction worker to $25,000 (Currently $10,000).

Vehicle Code-Use of Video Devices (SB 86) – Clarifies that people cannot stream videos on a cell phone while they are driving.

Vehicle Code-Tinted Lights (SB 87) – Bans tinted headlights from being installed on cars.

Non-Highway Vehicle-55 MPH (HB 2068) – Provides that a person may operate an all-terrain vehicle or recreational off-highway vehicle on a roadway with a speed limit of 55 MPH or less (rather than 35 miles per hour or less).

Illinois Vehicle Code-School Buses (HB 1873) – Raises the mandatory fines for illegally passing a school bus from $150 to $300 for an initial violation and $500 to $1,000 for a future violation.

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