Illinois State Police Renew ‘Click It Or Ticket’ Campaign

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 Mayor Proposes Rideshare Tax Increase

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the city council and the media earlier this week to discuss her proposed budget. I wrote about part of her plan in my last post. As discussed, Lightfoot has earmarked $20 million towards Chicago’s department of transportation to help improve bus lines in and around downtown. The goal is to make bus trips quicker and to encourage for CTA riders, which in turn will hopefully decrease the amount of traffic congestion downtown.

Lightfoot also proposed drastic increases to rideshares that take place in the downtown loop corridor. Her reasoning is first to raise money to fill a budget gap, and also to hopefully decrease the amount of Uber and Lyft vehicles clogging the dowtown area.

Chicago Curbed provided a nice of summaary of the proposed increases: ” Across the city, single riders will pay $1.25, about 53 cents more than they do now. In a special downtown zone, single trips fees will add up to $3 which will total to $2.28 more than riders pay now. Opting for a shared trip in the downtown zone will cost riders $1.25 in fees, about 53 cents more than now. The only riders to pay less in fees, only 7 cents, are those selecting shared rides in neighborhoods outside the downtown zone. “

I understand that many local residents will be upset about this new fees should the proposal pass. But similar fees are already going on in big cities like New York and San Francisco. There is a clear traffic congestion problem downtown, which has been caused, in party, by the increase in the number of rideshare vehicles swamping the loop during rush hour. I understand Lightfoot’s reasoning hear and would not be opposed seeing this within the new budget.

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

CDOT Proposing New Greenway And Bike Route In Lincoln Park Neighborhood

Multiple news outlets reported last week that the Chicago Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) has proposed a new pedestrian and bicycle route on Dickens Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The proposed route would run east-west on Dickens from Clybourn Street all the way to the lakefront trail. The proposed pathway would allow much easier access for pedestrians and bicyclists to access the Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Zoo and the lakefront.

The proposal has been named the Dickens Avenue Greenway Project and it would lower the speed limit to 20 miles per hour, add speed bumps and raised crosswalks with an aim to create an east/west bike route between a low-traffic connection between the 606 and the lakefront trail. Proponents include 43rd Ward Alderman Michelle Smith, 43rd Ward Alderman, who issued a statement saying “CDOT approached us about the greenway concept. Constituents have been asking for solutions to increase traffic safety.” Opponents have stated they have concerns about increased bicycle traffic, which would just be a duplicate of the dedicated bicycle lanes one block south on Armitage Avenue.

I would like to see the full proposal from CDOT, which would include an actual layout of the design of the plan. I actually live in this neighborhood, and am a proponent of increasing green traffic solutions. If this could possibly decrease the amount of vehicle traffic in the neighborhood, then I think this is a no-brainer. I just would like to see the full plan first.

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

New Study: Illinois Traffic Fatalities Rose Over Last 5 Years

The online automobile insurance company, Esurance, released a new study that traffic fatalities have risen in the United States over the last five (5) years. Illinois was once of the states that saw an increase.

The study looked at the raw number, but also included the main contributed causes to fatal car accidents during this period. According to the study, crash fatalities in Illinois went up from 991 in 2013 to 1,096 in 2017, an 11% increase.

The number one cause of traffic fatalities in the state was speed, which was 42.2% of deadly crashes. Driving under the influence had 27.3% of crashes while distracted driving had 7.2% and drug-related car crashes had 3.8%.

Over the five year period, percentage of alcohol related fatalities decreased from 32.7% down to 27.3%. Meanwhile, the number of distracted driving crashes increased from 5.6% to 7.2%.

I am somewhat surprised to see some of these numbers. First, I would have assumed larger percentage would have been attributed to distracted drivers. Although, unsurprisingly, we did see distracted driving crashes did increase. We know that distracted driving has become an epidemic in the country. I was happy to see that this year stricter traffic laws were finally enacted in Illinois to combat this issue. As I wrote last month, police officers no longer issue warnings for first offenses. Also, any type of hand held phone use while driving is considered a moving violation, which is now a misdemeanor. With that comes higher fines and it is much easier to have your license suspended ( 3 offenses within a 12 month period).

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

Illinois Governor Signs New Traffic Bill Strengthening “Scott’s Law”

Back in 2002, Illinois enacted a new traffic bill called “Scott’s Law,” which required drivers to slow down and safely change lanes when they see any vehicle on the side of the road with its hazard lights on. The Bill was named Chicago Fire Department Lt. Scott Gillen, who was killed in 2000. This Bill is often referred to as the “Move Over” law.

In a move to strengthen protections for first responders, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed an updated version of this Bill, which now protects protections to include authorized stationary vehicles with oscillating lights, first responders, Illinois Department of Transportation workers, police and anyone authorized to be on the highway for work-related duties.

The new law increases the minimum fine to $250 for a first violation and to $750 for a second and subsequent violations and adds a $250 assessment fee for any violation of Scott’s Law that will be funneled into a new fund devoted to producing driver’s education materials, called the Scott’s Law Fund.

Criminal penalties will increase to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, if a violation results in damage to another car, or a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison, if a violation results in an injury or death. Through the new law, an aggravating factor will be added to reckless homicide charges if Scott’s Law is violated.

The secretary of state also must include a written question about Scott’s Law in the driver’s license test. This new law becomes effective immediately.

Changes to Scott’s Law come after three Illinois State Police fatalities have occurred on the side of the road. Two of the three fatalities came as a result of violations of Scott’s Law and the third involved a wrong way driver.

Let’s hope the changes to this law raise awareness for drivers when they see first responders and road workers on the side of the road to slow down and change lanes. These are workers who are in a position to help protect people, but at the same time are in incredibly vulnerable situations while often times standing on the side of a busy highway.

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

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.

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.

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.

New Illinois Texting And Driving Law Takes Effect July 1st

A new Illinois traffic law takes effect on July 1, which will eliminate a free pass to first time offenders caught texting and driving. If someone is pulled over for texting and driving, and the officer has probable cause to believe the driver was in fact using their phone while driving, they will be issued a ticket rather than a warning. The previous law allowed drivers who were first time offenders to receive a warning.

More importantly, the new law also means that the ticket is a moving violation, which is misdemeanor in Illinois rather than a simple ordinance violation. In Illinois, your license will become suspended if you receive three (3) moving violations within a twelve (12) month period.

The law means no texting, talking, accessing the maps app and so on, unless with hands-free phone technology such as Bluetooth. It is also illegal to text or talk while holding a device at a stop sign, at a red light or while sitting in traffic.

I have been writing about texting and driving laws for years and the need for stiffer penalties. Hopefully now that drivers know that they will be charged with a misdemeanor, and could affect their pocket book and ultimately their right to driver, they will be more willing to put their phones down while driving.

If you receive a ticket, this does not necessarily mean it should be automatically paid. Drivers have the right to go to court and contest the ticket. In fact, if you do not think you have violated the statute and were wrongly ticketed, I recommend hiring an attorney and going to court to contest the ticket.

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.

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.