Illinois Traffic Deaths Up From This Time Last Year

Traffic levels are slowly edging back to pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, traffic deaths around the country and in Illinois have risen sharply as well. The Chicago Sun Times reported yestderday that there were 280 traffic fatalities during the first quarter of the year, a 24% jump from the same time in 2021.T There were 584 traffic fatalities through the first six months of 2022. That’s an 8% increase compared to the first half of 2021 and a 32% jump from 2020. The NHTSA won’t finalize counts until the end of the year.

According to the article and to the National Safety Council, U.S. roads appear to be more dangerous than they were prior to the pandemic. Many experts opined early on in the pandemic that the open roads were encouraged many drivers to exceed speed limits and drive more recklessly. Now that traffic levels are closer to normal, what could be causing all this erradic driving?

Experts have warned about speeding and drinking and driving, but I believe the focus needs to remain on distracted driving as well. Having your phone in your hand and looking away from the road for split second is all it takes sometimes. I highly encourage all drivers put their phones down when behind the wheel and focus on the road.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago accident attorneys at the Bryant Law Group, LLC, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

“Rebuild Illinois” Infrastructure Projects Underway In Champaign County

I think it’s fair to say that most driver’s troughout Illinois are tired of crumbling roads. They are sick of potholes. They are frightened of old rickety bridges. If you drive on I-55 from Chicago to Springfield and all the way to St. Louis, there are sections of that highway that are completey unsafe. The same can be said for I-57. Hopefully these complaints will be coming to an end as Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s infrastructure planned titled “Rebuild Illinois” is taking affect. WCIA recently reported nine projects are either underway or scheduled to start soon throughout Champaign County.

Rebuild Illinois, which was signed into law three years ago by Governor Pritzker is supposed to be an answer to the old roads and bridges throughout the state. Rebuild Illinois is a $45 billion investments in roads, bridges, railroads, universities, early childhood centers and state facilities over six years.

Below are a list of projects in Champaign County, which cost total about $270 million:

  • Interstate 74 bridges over Canadian National Railroad and Market Street in Champaign: Deck repairs began in August of 2020 and are expected to finish this fall. Two lanes of traffic remain open in each direction.
  • Interstate 74 west of St. Joseph: Bridge deck repairs are underway and are expected to be complete in December. There are permanent lane closures with a barrier wall.
  • U.S. Route 150 from County Road 2350 E in St. Joseph to the Vermilion County line: Road resurfacing began this month and will end in September. Intermittent lane closures will occur every day of the project.
  • Interstate 57 from Rantoul to Thomasboro: Resurfacing began this month and will end in December. Daily lane closures will occur.
  • Interstate 57 from Rantoul to the Ford County line: Resurfacing begins in August and will continue into next summer. Daily lane closures will occur.
  • U.S. Route 45 from Saline Branch Ditch to just north of Olympian Drive: Installation of new shoulders and rumble strips will begin in July and will be complete in September. Intermittent lane closures will occur every day of the project.
  • Intersection of U.S. Route 150 and Illinois Route 49 in Ogden: Drainage improvements will begin in August and will end in December. Intermittent lane closures will occur every day of the project.

These projects to repair roads and bridges are incredibly important to the state. They create a safer driving experience for everyone. Hopefully the safer roads and bridges will lead to less traffic accidents and traffic fatalities. An addded bonus is that Rebuild Illinois is also creating thousands of well paying jobs.

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

$5 Billion From Infrastructure Bill To Fund “Safe Streets & Roads For All Program”

U.S. Department of Transportation head, Pete Buttigieg, announced that this week that $5 billion from the recent infrastructure bill would be used to address traffic safety as traffic deaths have soared in recent years. Buttigieg stated that the money would flow tocities around the country over the next five (5) years. The money will slowing down cars, carving out bike paths, wider sidewalks and encouraging commuters to public transit. The department titled the new program “Safe Streets & Roads For All.” More specifically, the Department state the money would focus on adding rumble strips to slow cars or installing speed cameras, which the department says could provide more equitable enforcement than police traffic stops; flashing beacons for pedestrian crosswalks; new “safe routes” via sidewalks or other protected pathways to school or public transit in underserved communities; and other “quick build” roadway changes designed with community input. Roadway deaths represent about 95% of all U.S. transportation deaths, at more than 38,000 in 2020. In 2021, data released so far has already shown U.S. traffic fatalities rising to 31,720 through the third quarter, the highest nine-month period since 2006. Before 2020, the number of U.S. traffic deaths had fallen for three straight years. “We face a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways, and these tragedies are preventable – so as a nation we must work urgently and collaboratively to save lives,” Buttigieg said. He said the money “will help communities large and small take action to protect all Americans on our roads.” “We have become far too accustomed to the loss of life and serious injuries happening on our roadways,” he said. Let’s hope cities (including Chicago) can work quickly with the Department of Transportion so that these plans can be implemented. Traffic fatalities have risen sharply, especially since the pandemic began, and thoughtful safety plans should help curb this trend for all americans whether you live in a rural community or a big city and everywhere in between. 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.

Did The Pandemic Help Cause The Surge In Traffic Fatalities

I have written about the ebbs and flows of traffic patterns in Illinois and accross the U.S. since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Back in the summer of 2020 data showed predictably that traffic was way down once the pandemic shutdown began. Despite much fewer drivers on the road, there was a significan uptick in reckless driving accident. Observers and experts believed that with fewer cars on the road, drivers were more emboldened to drive faster.

We are almost two year in to the pandemic and the numbers for traffic fatalities, and specifically pedestrian traffic deaths are staggering. According to the New York Times Crashes killed more than 6,700 pedestrians in 2020, up about 5 percent from the estimated 6,412 the year before, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. These numbers are somewhat misleading because there was much less traffic on the road in 2020. Another study concluded that it was actually a 21% increase in pedestrian deaths based on the number of drivers. Although, we don’t have the numbers yet, it looks like there was another increase in 2021.

What is causing this behavior in drivers and how can we prevent it? One expert quoted by the Times believes it has to do with the number of aging drivers and the large number of SUVs on the roads which are much larger and carry a heavier impact. Others point to the increase in street racing and irratic driving. There’s no doubt those are all contributing factors. One point the article did not raise is the increase in distracted drivers. Many people still refuse to put their phones down while driving. Although the penalties for driving while texting in Illinois have become more strict over the last ten years, there’s still an argument for higher fines. Especially in situations involving injury or deat.

But has the pandemic actually led to this rise in fatalities? I don’t think we’ll know for several years. There will need to be a hard look at all the numbers as to whether alcohol was involved or whether these accidents involved excessive speeds. Regardless, i think this is an epimic right now and will continue to until we see these numbers go down.

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

NHTSA Reported Higher Traffic Deaths In 2020 Despite Pandemic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) reported some disturbing numbers regarding 2020 traffic deaths. The administration reported an estimated 38,680 traffic fatalities in 2020, which was the highest number since 2007. It also reflects a  7.2 percent as compared to the 36,096 fatalities reported in 2019.

These numbers are so disturbing because there were so many less motorists on the road in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2020 decreased by about 430.2 billion miles, or about a 13.2-percent decrease.  If there were fewer drivers on the road, why was it so much more dangerous to drive?

According to the NHTSA report driving patterns and behaviors changed significantly, and that drivers who remained on the roads engaged in more risky behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Traffic data indicates that average speeds increased throughout the year, and examples of extreme speeds became more common, while the evidence also shows that fewer people involved in crashes used their seat belts.

My unscientific opinion is that drivers felt more emboldened to partake in the above risky behaviors because no one else was out on the roads. Or, certain drivers may have believed that with fewer drivers around them, there would be less police out looking for speeders. Whatever the reason for this behavior, it is a worrisome trend. All the numbers and statistics I have posted over last several years tended to point the finger at distracted driving as the main cause of increased fatalities. The NHTSA believes 2020 that it was more than distracted driving. It was clearly outright reckless speeding and drinking and driving. Let’s all hope that 2020 was an anomaly and drivers begin using more basic caution like wearing seatbelts, putting their phones down and driving a reasonable speed.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury lawyers at the Bryant Law Group 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, we have seen an increase in the severity of Chicago car crashes.

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.”

Chicago and the state of Illinois are not alone with these numbers and “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.

Why the increase in traffic fatalities and severe injuries? 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. 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.

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.