April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The Illinois State Police are are partnering with over 200 law enforcement agencies around the state this month to promote traffic safety and bring awareness to distracted driving. April is distracted driving awareness month around the country, and the Illinois State Police’s initiative this year is called “drop it and drive.” That is, put down your phone and focus on the road.

he 200 law enforcement agencies will be doing nothing but focusing on distracted driving. These special officer details that will on a grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”).

According to a personal injury lawyer, around 26,000 people died in U.S. crashes involving a distracted driver between 2012 and 2019. That is an incredible number, which has continued to rise since the advent of the smart phone. I will be interested to see what the number of tickets issued are during the month of April and whether this special initiative will actually decrease the number of distracted driving traffic accidents.

Everyone who has a smart phone knows how tempting it is to pick up your phone while in traffic to check an email or a text. Even a few seconds of looking into your phone can be incredibly dangerous. Along with the Illinois State Police, we encourage you to avoid that temptation and put your phone away while driving.

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.

Chicago Traffic Fatalities Down In 2019

There is encouraging news in Chicago traffic news. Traffic fatalities are down 30% in the city compared to this time last year. There were 108 traffic deaths through October 2018 compared to 77 so far this year.

This is good news for the city and particularly the cities’ transportation department which implemented “Vision Zero,” a plan aimed to eliminate all traffic fatalities in Chicago by 2026. Vision Zero’s plan includes changing intersections to make them safer, road user education and improving transit use in high crash areas, is an international road safety project.

The plan is also using used crash data to identify high-crash corridors and areas, which were prioritized for safety improvements. The areas include downtown Chicago and seven neighborhoods, such as Belmont-Cragin on the Northwest Side and Englewood on the South Side.

I don’t think anyone can say at this point what has caused the decrease in traffic deaths. I think we all hope that the money and time spent by Vision Zero is making our streets safer. I think a more detailed look at the data on the type and location of the traffic accidents will help us answer those questions. Let’s hope this trend continues.

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

Chicago Officials Break Ground On New CTA Bus Only Lane

NBC News Chicago reported last week that Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance, in a groundbreaking ceremony, unveiled five ((5) new bus only traffic lanes. These are in addition to the bus only lanes that currently run in the downtown loop on Madison and Washington Streets.

Construction on the new lanes took place on North May, Chicago, LaSalle and Western Avenues. According to the Transportation Alliance, the new lanes will increase ridership, shorten bus commutes and hopefully decrease traffic congestion. “For Chicago to be a more vibrant, sustainable, and equitable city, we need to move people more efficiently. Bus lanes are a good way to do that,” Ron Burke, the Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance, said.

The Active Transportation Alliance says that incoming Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot supports expanding the program, and their goal is to add 50 miles of designated bus lanes over the next four years.

These new loop link lanes downtown look nice, but I think it’s unclear as to whether they have actually shortened commute times or helped with traffic. Part of the problem is that normal vehicles and bicyclists can often be seen using those lanes as well, which in turn can back up traffic. City officials have said they are going to start issuing tickets to drivers who drive in these bus only lanes. There was no mention by city officials as to what they expect the effect these new lanes will have on traffic safety or decreasing traffic accidents.

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 Tollways Is Partnering With Waze App

The Chicago Tribune reported last month that the Illinois Tollway will be partnering with the popular maps and traffic app Waze to create faster traffic alerts. Since February of this year the Illinois Tollway and Waze have been sharing its’ traffic data with each other. Waze has been sending info regarding traffic incidents such as debris on the road, stalls and potholes. The Illinois Tollway, for its’ part, has been sharing with Waze any incidents related to lane blockages, including crashes, stalls and the locations of Tollway help trucks.

All of this information from the Waze partnership is made available directly to the phones of Waze users. The moment one of the Tollway’s help trucks turns on its lights, a signal is sent directly to Waze notifying users of a stopped vehicle at that location. According to this report the costs of the partnership have been small, and involved tweaks to the Tollway’s web servers and other equipment.

This is an excellent example of the progress that can made from a partnership between the public and private sectors. The goal for both entities is to provide a safe and hopefully quicker commute for drivers. I will be interested in seeing any data as time progressives as to whether this partnership has helped decrease traffic accidents and traffic congestion.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an Illinois 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 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.

April Is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Throughout the month of April, Police departments across the state of Illinois are cracking down on drivers who text while behind the wheel. April is the national distracted driving awareness month, and Illinois’ police departments are taking it seriously.

More than 100 police agencies across the state are planning to add new hands-free driving enforcement zones that will target drivers using their phones, according to the Naperville Police Department.

Despite laws on the books in every state, including Illinois, banning texting and driving, injuries continue to go up due to distracted driving car accidents. According to the National Highway Safety Council approximately 100 people are injured per day in traffic accidents caused by texting and driving. One reason these numbers continue to grow is due to the expansion of wi-fi capabilities on smart phones.

Extra police patrols and other costs related to the Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign are covered by federal funds allocated to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

I think this push to crack down on distracted drivers is encouraging. My only issue is this should not be a one (1) month a year focus. Police departments should have their patrol officers trained to look for distracted drivers on a regular basis, just like they would monitor for drunk drivers.

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.

City of Chicago To Use Data And Analytics To Reduce Car Crashes

The City of Chicago Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) issued a press release this week regarding their “Vision Zero” plan, which is an effort to eliminate all pedestrian traffic deaths in the city by the year 2026. The plan was introduced one year ago.

As part of their  release, CDOT announced it has entered a data partnership with Arity, a subsidiary of The Allstate Insurance. Arity is a connected car technology company that collects nearly one billion miles of driving and connected car data per month from more than one million mobile phone and in-car devices. Arity has a unique, user centric view of a city’s mobility patterns and ability to identify driving behaviors that carry the most risk and cause severe traffic accidents.  CDOT stated that it will be using the data and predictive analytics to better understand the risk factors of specific segments of roadways and intersections throughout Chicago.

From the release: “partnership will be used help the City identify the risk factors on specific roadways and help determine where to best prioritize and focus investments in infrastructure and traffic safety resources, as well as how to tailor interventions to improve road safety in Chicago.”

I think this is an incredibly important investment by the city.  I imagine that the use of this advanced data will  city will be able to determine where to put additional cross-walk and pedestrian signs, where to add four-way stops, where widen roads and I’m sure other safety measures.

It’s interesting that this was just announced. As I wrote within the last few weeks, pedestrian deaths in Chicago are outpacing the number of fatalities over the last several years. “Vision Zero” is off to a slow start, but hopefully this partnership with Arity will help curb that trend.

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

Apple Introducing App To Curb Smart Phone Addiction

CBS News reported this week that Apple is introducing a new app to help people that may be addicted to – – yes this is correct – – their own telephone. The new app will allow users to set limits on the phone in general, or choose to set limits for certain apps, such as social media. When the limit is reached, the device will shut down. Those who choose to use this new feature can also sync the monitor limits among devices, so you can’t switch over and keep surfing on your iPad or Macbook. Google also announced plans to help monitor smartphone use on Android devices.

Full disclosure, if my wife reads this I’m certain she will ask me to download this app immediately and ask me to apply it toward my Twitter usage. Regardless, this will be interesting technology that car makers and lawmakers to look at regarding phone use in vehicles. With the epidemic of distracted driving traffic accidents occurring in our country, I wonder if this type of technology could be used to prevent hand held phone use for drivers. Currently, laws banning cell phone use while driving is not preventing the number of car accidents around the country.

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 312-614-1076.

Illinois State Police Enforcement Effort Leads To Nearly 6,000 Traffic Citations Memorial Day Weekend

CBS Chicago reported recently that the Illinois State Police’s (“ISP”) effort to crack down on traffic violations over the busy Memorial Day Weekend led to 5,924 traffic citations and 5,206 written.

Illinois State Troopers efforts included 109 drunk driving arrests and 815 seat belt citations.  ISP also provided assistance to approximately 1,300 stranded motorists. “I am very proud of the hard work displayed by the men and women of the Illinois State Police,” said ISP Director Leo Schmitz. “I am confident their enforcement efforts resulted in lives being saved.”

I think these numbers are encouraging, especially as it was predicted that this year would be one of the busiest traffic weekends of the year. Regardless, I would like to see how many of those citations were for distracted driving. Also, I would like to see the Illinois accident numbers compared to those over the last five (5) years. I think this would provide us some context as to whether the ISP’s enforcement efforts are actually reducing the number of traffic accidents.

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