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.

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.

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.

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

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 States With Texting & Driving Ban Showed Decrease In ER Visits

A new study from Texas A&M revealed that sixteen (16) states that have enacted a complete ban on texting and driving saw a 4% decrease in emergency room visits. The study looked at emergency room data from these states from 2007 through 2014. The results were published in the American Journal of Public Health this week.

Alva Ferdinand, lead author of the study, a lawyer, and an assistant professor of health policy at the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University, stated this about complete texting bans: “The law can be a very useful public health intervention. There are lives that can be saved and injuries prevented as a result of these laws,”

In 2016, nearly 3,500 people lost their lives and 391,000 were injured but survived a crash related to distracted driving, including texting, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

I have been writing about this issue off and on over the last half dozen years. I have mentioned over and over that we will not see a decrease in car accidents and traffic fatalities until there are actual deterrents to texting and driving. A mere fine, by itself, will not prevent drivers from picking up their phones while in traffic. There needs to be actual teeth in the legislation. This means a total ban, along with the threat of a moving violation with hefty fines. If drivers are aware that they could see points on their driving record, along with the threat of paying serious money for violating the law, then they are more likely to put their phones away while behind the wheel. These research findings are refreshing to me and a validation of what experts around the country have been saying for years.

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.

Are Faulty Traffic Light Boxes Causing Pedestrian Accidents In Chicago

CBS 2 Chicago produced an interesting story this week about faulty or “dark and faded” traffic light boxes around the city. The report pointed out that they counted a total of twenty-two (22) faded boxes on the North Side alone. Specifically, all four (4) light boxes were completely out at the intersection of Clark and Chicago streets.

The report asks whether these faulty light boxes could be the cause in the recent surge of pedestrian accidents in the city. It was noted that there were 207 pedestrian accidents alone that were reported in January of this year.

The news station reached out to CDOT asking for a comment and their only response was a generic press release stating: “electrical office schedules repairs on an ongoing basis.”

Further, the most recent report from “Vision Zero” did not mention any plans to update or maintain faulty traffic light boxes. “Vision Zero” is the city’s broad plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities in Chicago by the year 2026.

This seems to be a simple fix and something that should already be budgeted for by the city counsel. It should be a priority by the city to stay vigilant in the upkeep and repair of traffic light boxes if they plan to meet their goals from “Vision Zero.” Chicago has some of the heaviest foot and bicycle traffic in the U.S., and simple bulb repairs should not fall behind at any time. Especially when the city has publicly made pedestrian safety such a high priority. At least that is what they have stated.

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

International Traffic Study Show U.S. Leads In Increase Of Traffic Deaths

According to a new study from the International Transport Forum, which recently held a traffic summit in Leipzig, Germany,  5 of 29 countries saw a jump in traffic deaths between 2010 and 2016. The U.S. had the highest rate of increase at 13.5 percent. Argentina had the second-highest increase in traffic deaths, at 9 percent, and Chile experienced a 5 percent increase. The United States also saw the highest jump in pedestrian deaths during the time period, at 39.2 percent, and a 34.8 percent increase in cyclist deaths.

We know that traffic fatalities have increased in Illinois and throughout the U.S., but it is now clear that these increases are outpacing every other country in the world. While we have known about these increases, there has been some debate about the cause. I have written on this site multiple times that the improved economy during the Obama administration led many more motorists on the road, and thus more accidents. The other factor I have written about over and over is the impact of phone use and distracted drivers.

The above referenced study agrees with this conclusion.  According to Fred Wegman, chairman of the International Road Traffic Data and Analysis Group, a division of the Transport Forum, the two main factors that has led to the increase in traffic fatalities is an improved economy and the rise in texting and driving. “Distracted driving is more prevalent and prominent in the United States than in other countries,” Wegman said.

What is the cure for the epidemic? I have written multiple times that there need to be stricter penalties for those caught texting and driving. According to those involved in the this Summit, more research is necessary.

Derek Kan, U.S. undersecretary of transportation for policy, said the U.S. started a safety data initiative last year to predict and better understand what causes traffic fatalities. “What does the data tell us — are there specific intersections, are there specific weather conditions, specific events where we see a spike in traffic fatalities?” Kan said. He said the U.S. is working with local police and state transportation departments to examine causes.Kan said the U.S. also wants to know how significant distracted driving is as an issue in traffic deaths — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the number of crashes due to texting or talking on mobile devices actually fell in 2016.“Is there a measurement error?” Kan said. “Maybe we’re not capturing this data correctly.”

It’s my opinion that there was a measurement error and they need to look further into the data.

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

Illinois Traffic Fatalities Up Again In 2017

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), 1080 people died from traffic accidents in 2017. That is up two (2) from the year before and more than what was recorded in 2014 and 2015.

“Distracted driving continues to be a concern, but it is incredibly hard to detect and enforce, some things we’ve noticed are an increase in number of motorcycle fatalities. Last year in February, it was warm enough for motorcyclists to be out on the road already.” said Kelsea Gurski, with IDOT.

IDOT said 158 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents last year. That was four more than had been killed the year before and 40 more than in 2014.

I have not seen any numbers to date trough the first two (2) months of 2018, so it is unclear whether we are at a better pace that 2017.

I agree with the IDOT spokesperson who stated that disctracted driving his hard to detect and enforce. As I have written in the past, the best solution, in my eyes, is to increase the fines and penalties for someone who is caught using their phone while driving. That is the only deterrent. I think it is fair to say that the stricter penalties for DUIs is one of the reasons we have seen a drop in drunk driving fatalities over the last 20 years.

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

Chicago Aldermen Propose Use Of “Textalyzer” By City Police

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that two Chicago Aldermen are interested in new traffic technology called a Textalyzer, a device developed by Israeli company Cellebrite — which can access a phone’s operating system to check whether it was being used to text, email or perform other functions. Its name is a play on the Breathalyzer, which can help determine whether a driver is legally drunk.

Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, and Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling on the Police Department to appear before a City Council committee “to address the use of emerging technology, such as a Textalyzer, in enforcing the city’s existing traffic laws or the investigation of vehicle accidents.”

I have written on the dangers of texting and driving on this site ad nauseum through the years, as I believe it has been proven that distracted driving is an epidemic in this country. Far too many people text and drive and it is causing serious traffic accidents and sometimes traffic fatalities. My problem with this proposal is that it calls into question whether this type of technology invades on peoples 4th amendment right to privacy. Specifically, the constitutional right against illegal search and seizures. Many people do not realize that when stopped by policy they do not have to submit to a breathalyzer or other sobriety tests. Further, people have the right refuse an officer’s request to search their vehicles. Although, it must be noted that if an officer believes there is probable cause for a search they can go ahead and do so (though anything found in such a search could be subject to the Court’s scrutiny as to whether the search was legal). The point here is whether police should have the right to seize a drivers phone and perform a “Textalyzer” analysis to determine if the driver had been using the phone at the time of the crash? I don’t believe so. It could be argued that the phone could be seized if there is overwhelming evidence that the phone was being used prior to the stop (i.e. the officer saw the driver typing into the phone while driving or the phone was in the drivers lap following a car accident).

These are all questions that need to be answered prior to the city moving forward and handing over this technology to police officers. I do not believe the City Council should rubber stamp this technology without a careful determination of the constitutional implications. Further, there is the question of whether this type of technology would be a deterrent for drivers to use their phones while behind the wheel.

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.

Smart Highway Technology Coming To Jane Addams Tollway

Many commuters may have noticed over the last several months that congestion has cleared on the Jane Addams Tollway, which is the stretch of I-90 that covers O’Hare airport up to the Wisconsin border. Widening and rebuilding efforts was recently completed as part of the second phase of the 2.5 billion dollar project to replace, expand and update the tollway.

The next phase is currently underway, according to WBEZ radio and the Illinois Tollway’s homepage, which involves building “smart road” technology. This third phase involves installation of dozens of huge metal archways and signs above the road located between O’Hare and Barrington. These metal archways are dynamic signs that display suggestions for drivers. For example, if there is an accident two miles down the road from driver, a sign over that lane may show a big red X, encouraging drivers to change lanes before they get to the problem spot. Another lane may show a green arrow, communicating to drivers that they should drive in that lane. Tollway engineers will remotely update the electric signs to reflect current conditions. The technology will also allow Pace buses to ride on the shoulders, much like they already do on the Stevenson Expressway in Chicago. The signs are expected to up and running within the next few months.

The purpose for this technology is three-fold: improve safety, reduce congestion, and develop an infrastructure for future technologies like driverless cars.

I am somewhat dubious of the future of driverless cars but the potential for safety and congestion improvements is encouraging.

Similar “smart” signs were installed in Seattle in 2010, which has seen positive results. The system (known as “active traffic management”) reduced weekday vehicle collisions by seven percent, and weekend car crashes went down by as much as 20 percent.

I will be interested to see the results of this new technology in the next few years. As I have written recently, the country as a while (and Illinois) has seen an increase in traffic fatalities over the last few years, and our city and state have been searching for answers. Hopefully adding “smart” technology is a step in the right direction.

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

Study Shows Ashland Ave Deadliest For Chicago Pedestrians

The Chicago Tribune reported last month that through an investigation of police statistics, that Ashland Avenue has been the most dangerous for pedestrians over the last four (4) years.

The statistics showed that from 2014 to 2016 the most traffic fatalities occurred on Lake Shore Drive (15), Ashland (14), Western Avenue with (14), Milwaukee Avenue (9), and Stony Island and North avenues (8). Those numbers include motorist, bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities.

The road with the most pedestrian fatalities over this period was Ashland with 10.  Why is Ashland such a major problem for traffic accidents? Once reason the article notes is that on the South side of the city motorists who want to avoid the expressway, choose to drive on Ashland, which makes it a much busier street than others.

The article also notes that being poor can also mean you’re more likely to die in a traffic crash. The city’s Transportation Department reported this month that people experiencing medium and high levels of economic hardship make up 82 percent of the city’s traffic deaths.

What can be done on busy streets like Ashland to protect pedestrians?

One is to install refuge “islands” in the middle of crossings so pedestrians can stop and wait midblock if the light changes, and traffic bump-outs. The latter means extending concrete into the intersection to reduce the space needed to cross and get cars to slow down, Such measures have been added during resurfacing in crash-prone areas.

 

Reducing the width of vehicle lanes on arterials helps slow traffic, Schady said. Another solution, especially in the suburbs, is reducing driveway access points. Countdown lights help pedestrians see how long they have to make it across. Traffic lights can also include a delay before the light turns green so pedestrians can clear the intersection before traffic moves again.

A way to calm traffic on Ashland in particular could be a rapid transit bus system between Irving Park Road and 95th Street. The idea, proposed by the CTA and the Transportation Department in 2013, faced opposition from residents and businesses and is stuck in the planning phase.

All of these ideas are part of the “Vision Zero” initiative that the city undertook in 2014, which was to eliminate all traffic deaths in the city.

Once thing for certain is that motorists need to constantly be aware of their surroundings when driving in the city. You have to be aware of course of other drivers, but also pedestrians, especially on busy avenues like Ashland.

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