Posted On: March 30, 2009

With IIHS’ New Auto Safety Rating System Ranking SUV’s According to Roof Strength, Motorists Will Hopefully Buy Autos Less Likely to Cause Injuries and Deaths During Rollover Accidents

This month, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety presented consumers with a new rating system for ranking the strength of sport utility vehicles roofs. This will hopefully make it easier for buyers to pick safer cars when making SUV purchases, as well as compel auto manufacturers to make motor vehicles with stronger roofs so as to decrease the number of injuries and deaths that occur during rollover accidents.

The IIHS reports that over 10,000 people a year die in rollover accidents. This most often occurs when the roof of the vehicle gets crushed, ground, or deformed while rolling over. This is why it is so important for auto manufacturers to design SUV’s and other vehicles with strong roofs. Not only are stronger roofs less prone to getting crushed, but they decrease the chances that vehicle occupants will get hurt when they make contact with the roof.

Out of the 12 SUV’s tested (2008 to 2009 models), only four of them earned a “good rating:” The Jeep Patriot, the Honda Element, the Subaru Forester, and the Tiguan, which was rated as having the strongest roof. The Kia Sportage was rated as having the weakest roof, and received a “poor” rating. The Ford Escape and the Honda CR-V received “marginal” marks, and the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Suzuki Grand Vitara, the Nissan Rogue, the Chevrolet Equinox, and the Toyota Rav 4 received an “acceptable” rating for the strength of their roofs.

SUV Rollover Accident Facts
Rollover accidents can lead to serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, crushed bones, spinal cord injuries, and death. Many times, a rollover injury will occur because an occupant is ejected from a vehicle, smashes into the auto’s front or side windows, or strikes his or her head against the roof.

If you or someone you love was injured in an Illinois auto accident because a driver was negligent or because the vehicle you were riding in was poorly made or defectively designed, please contact our Chicago car accident law firm to discuss your case.

Auto manufacturers are supposed to make sure that their vehicles are properly made and all safety precautions are in place to prevent injuries and deaths from occurring unnecessarily. At the same time, drivers are supposed to be careful and make sure that they don’t drive negligently and cause an auto accident.

Roof strength is focus of new rating system; 4 of 12 small SUVs evaluated earn top marks,, March 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Rollover: The Hidden History of the SUV, PBS

SUV Rollover Accident and Death Statistics,

Roof Strength and Injury Risk in Rollover Crashes of Passenger Cars and SUV's (PDF)

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Posted On: March 29, 2009

Illinois House Passes Bachman’s Law Requiring Police to Activate Sirens and Lights When Speeding to Prevent Car Accidents

In the Illinois House, representatives have passed a bill known as “Bachman’s Law.” The legislation mandates that police officers activates their sirens and lights any time they are driving faster than the legal speed limit when they are on the job.

The bill was proposed following a deadly Illinois car crash involving a speeding police officer that claimed the lives of 21-year-old Aaron Bachman and 15-year-old DJ Bachman. The two brothers died in 2006 when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by a police car that was headed to a domestic disturbance call.

Prosecutors say Winnebago Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Boomer was driving at over 100 mph. Boomer admitted during his testimony at his criminal trial that he did not have his sirens or lights activated. The jury found Boomer not guilty.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused by Speeding Police Cars
Even when a police officer is rushing to an emergency call or engaged in a high speed police chase, he or she must still drive responsibly and safely so that a motor vehicle crash doesn’t occur.

In 2006, the city of Chicago spent seven million dollars to settle Illinois car accident lawsuits filed by people injured in police car accidents. Six million of these dollars went to two cases alone for police pursuits in 2001 and 2003 that led to injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one person a day dies in US police pursuits. About 1 in 3 police pursuits results in a motor vehicle crashes, and thousands of people (motorists, pedestrians, other bystanders, and suspects) end up getting hurt.

House passes law inspired by deadly crash involving police, WREX, March 25, 2009

City spends millions on cop car accidents, Medill Reports, June 5, 2007

Related Web Resource:
Bachman's Law,, August 8, 2008

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Posted On: March 26, 2009

North Side Man Charged with Causing Evanston, Illinois Car Accident, DUI, and Stealing Ambulance

In Chicago, a 30-year-old man has been charged with one count of aggravated DUI, possession of a stolen medical transport vehicle, aggravated battery of a peace officer, resisting a peace officer, driving without a license, and reckless driving. Alberto Bustamante is accused of stealing an ambulance and causing a six-auto collision while speeding through Evanston on Tuesday afternoon. He also has been cited for failing to decrease the speed of the vehicle to prevent a traffic accident and disobeying a traffic control device. Several people were injured in the Illinois motor vehicle crash.

According to a preliminary probe, Bustamante allegedly stole the ambulance from a Chicago nursing home and drove it up Chicago Avenue into Evanston where he hit a parked vehicle off of Washington. He reportedly failed to stop at the crash site and kept driving the private ambulance at a fast speed until he drove through a red light and allegedly caused the vehicle pileup at Dempster where he struck three cars, totaling two of them, before attempting to flee the crash site on foot. Bustamante reportedly struggled with police who tried apprehending him, but he was eventually taken into custody.

According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, speeding is a factor in almost 1/3rd of all fatal US auto crashes. Not only does speeding increase the chances that a car crash will happen, but it decreases the amount of time a motorist has to avoid a crash while magnifying the severity of an auto accident.

Some Speeding Facts:
• The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that any time a driver accelerates a vehicle’s speed from 40 mph to 60 mph, it increases the energy expelled in a crash by more than two times.

• The IIHS says that when a number of states increased their speed limits in 1996, the speeds that motorists would operate their vehicles increased, as did the number of motor vehicle deaths.

• Speeding and alcohol can be fatal together.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in an Illinois car crash because another motorist was driving drunk, speeding, or engaged in another form of negligent driving, you may have grounds for filing a Chicago personal injury lawsuit.

North Side man charged with stealing ambulance, causing accident, Chicago Sun Times, March 26, 2009

Stolen Ambulance In 6-Car Crash In Evanston,, March 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Speeding, Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Posted On: March 25, 2009

Illinois Car Crash Kills 4-Year-Old and Injures His Father and 7-Year-Old Sister

A tragic Illinois car crash in Jackson County has claimed the life of a 4-year-old child and injured his father and 7-year-old sister. The Carbondale traffic accident took place along North Illinois Avenue on Tuesday.

Tony McNeil-Davis’s vehicle was rear-ended and pushed into oncoming traffic where it was struck by a van. Seven people were transported to a local hospital. The McNeil-Davis family, however, was the hardest hit. 4-year-old Mathew died from his injuries while Tony continues to receive treatment for his serious injuries. Tony’s daughter, 7-year-old Meghan McNeil, was also injured.

A driver was cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid an Illinois car crash. According to Carbondale police, motor vehicle parts and kids’ school supplies were strewn all over the crash site.

Depending on the nature of an Illinois car crash, serious injuries can result for the victims. Young children are especially prone to getting hurt—even when they are safely secured in a child car safety seat or a booster seat.

Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, severed limbs, neck injuries, back injuries, internal injuries, and other serious injuries can occur. These catastrophic injuries can require extensive and costly medical care. An injured patient may experience emotional and mental trauma from the accident that may take years to recover from, and he or she may no longer be able to perform routine tasks without assistance.

While there is nothing that we can do to prevent you from having to undergo such traumatic and life-altering changes in your life, there are steps we can take to help you make sure that you receive all of the compensation that you are owed so that you have the financial resources that you need to recover. In addition to expensive medical procedures and rehabilitation and possibly ongoing nursing care, you may also lose benefits and wages from any time that you take off work.

Updated: Seven hurt in Carbondale crash, March 17, 2009

Friends Set Up Funds For Family Devastated by Car Crash, WSIL TV, March 26, 2009

Related Web Resources:

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Posted On: March 23, 2009

General Motors Recalls Over 270,000 Motor Vehicles

General Motors recalling over 270,000 2009 model motor vehicles because of a shift lever defect. The Chevrolet Malibu, HHR, and Traverse, the Saturn Outlook and Aura, the Pontiac G6 and G5, the Buick Enclave, and the GMC Acadia are included in the recall.

The problem with the shift lever is that when a motorist places it in the ‘Park’ mode in automatic cars, the transmission may not actually be in the ‘Park’ setting, which means the car could roll away if the handbrake hasn’t been activated. Fortunately, many of these vehicles have yet to leave the dealer lots, which means that just approximately 75,000 GM vehicles that were sold will have to be brought back in.

Auto Defects Can Lead to Products Liability
Defective autos and auto parts can result in serious auto accidents and injuries. While many times a recall can save lives before the defect can cause a vehicle to malfunction and cause a serious auto accident, there are those injuries and deaths that do occur because of a defective auto part.

Common yet deadly auto defects:

• Poorly designed vehicle roofs
• Defective tires
• Problems with the seat backs
• Defective gas tanks
• Faulty seat belts
• Defective breaks
• Airbag defects
• Door latch problems
• SUV rollover-related defects
• 15-passenger van-related defects

Auto manufacturers are supposed to make sure that their vehicles and the parts they use will not result in Chicago motor vehicle accidents. When failure to ensure this duty of care results in personal injury or wrongful death, the injured party and his or her family may file an auto products liability claim against the auto maker and/or the motor vehicle parts manufacturer.

GM recalls more than 270,000 vehicles due to faulty shifter, Motor Authority, March 17, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Auto Recalls, Justia

Safety Problems and Issues, NHTSA

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Posted On: March 20, 2009

Chicago Car Accident on the Loop Critically Injures Four People

In Chicago, five people were rushed to the hospital early today following a two-auto collision that occurred on the Loop. The Illinois motor vehicle crash, which occurred at Franklin and Madison streets after 1am, involved a Pontiac Sunfire, which was heavily damaged, and a Chevy Ventura van that landed overturned on a pedestrian crosswalk.

Four of the five people that were injured sustained critical injuries. Two of them were transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital while the other two were transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. The four people riding inside the van declined medical care.

The cause of the Chicago car accident is not known at this time and an investigation is pending.

Every car crash is different, which is why, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you are represented by an experienced Chicago motor vehicle collision law firm that knows how to investigate and pursue your case. A good Chicago car accident law firm will know how to fight for your right to financial recovery. Not only does this include having the knowledge and experience to examine the evidence and prove liability, as well as advocating on your behalf when dealing with insurers and their legal representation, but your injury attorney must also know know how to assess your injuries and losses so that you receive all the compensation that you are entitled to and need.

Especially during accidents involving catastrophic injuries, your Chicago personal injury lawyer will need to know how to make sure that your ongoing and future medical expenses and any lost wages can be factored into the equation when advocating for your settlement or arguing for your verdict before a Chicago jury.

Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, severed limbs, and severe burn injuries can take years—if not a lifetime—to cope with. A good Chicago catastrophic injury attorney will have the manpower and resources to make sure that you are taken care of and that your family has what they need.

4 Hurt In Loop Crash, WBBM780, March 20, 2009

Related Web Resources:
National Spinal Cord Injury Association

Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page

International Society for Burn Injuries

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Posted On: March 15, 2009

Cell Phone Use Increases the Number of Deadly Car Crashes and Pedestrian Accidents

According to recent studies, using a cell phone can prove deadly whether you are driving or walking in an area where there are motor vehicles. The study, lead-authored by Rutgers University, Newark, Economics Professor Peter D Loeb, shows how pedestrian fatalities and motor vehicle deaths are increasing as a result of this growing bad habit. There are now about 100 million cell phones in use.

The studies, which examine motor vehicle crashes and cell phone use between 1975 and 2002, take into account the use of seat belts, alcohol intake, the speed of the vehicle, and the number of miles that were driven. The fatality-cell phone correlation seemed to apply even when these factors were in place.

Before there were so many cell phone users (in the late 1980’s and the beginning a portion of the 1990’s), cell phones appeared to help save lives because people were able to quickly contact 911 rather than rely on other ways to get help. However, once the number of cell phones hit critical mass at about 100 million phones in use, the “life-saving" effect became the “life-taking” effect on both motorists and pedestrians.

The specifics of these studies findings can be found in Transportation Research Part E, Elsevier, Vol. 45, Issue 1, January 2009 and “The impact of cell phones and BAC Laws on Motor Vehicle Fatality Rates.”

In another study that appeared in the February issue of Pediatrics, researchers found that kids that talk on cell phones while crossing the street increase the chances they’ll get hurt in a pedestrian accident.

Among the findings:
• Kids using a cell phone while crossing the street took 20 times longer to do so.
• These children increased their chances of getting hit by a car by 43%.
• Children with cell phones looked both ways before crossing the street 20% fewer times than kids who weren’t using cell phones.

Cell Phone Studies: Whether You’re Talking While Walking or While Driving, Cell Phones = Increased Fatalities,, March 4, 2009

Cell Phones Dangerous For Child Pedestrians, Study Finds, Science Daily, January 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, NSC

Illinois Driving and Cell-Phone Legislation

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Posted On: March 11, 2009

Chicago Woman Dies in Des Plaines Car Accident

A Chicago woman is dead following a deadly Des Plaines car accident on Sunday. Josefa Salgado, 51, was riding in a 1997 Ford Escort driven by Anais Bahena, also a Chicago resident, when Bahena failed to yield the right of way while turning left. A 1998 Honda CRV hit the car Bahena was driving.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, Salgado, who was transported to Elk Grove Village where she was treated at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, died f several injuries. The driver of the Honda, Homer Glen resident Patricia Lindquist, received medical attention at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago and was later released.

Bahena was charged with failure to yield and will appear in court in April. Meantime, Des Plaines police are considering whether to install a red light camera at the intersection where the deadly Illinois auto accident occurred.

Failure to Yield Accidents
A “failure to yield” traffic crash involves a motorist failing to give way to the driver that has the right of way.

Examples of failing to yield include:
• Failure to yield to approaching traffic when turning left.
• Failure to stop the vehicle at a stop sign and let the driver who has the right of way cross the intersection.
• Failure to yield to a pedestrian at an intersection or a crosswalk.
• Failure to yield to an ambulance, a fire truck, a police vehicle, or another emergency vehicle during an emergency situation.
• Failure to yield at a flashing light.
• Failure to yield when merging onto a road or entering the freeway.
• Failure to yield to any traffic that has the right of way.

Failing to yield can be grounds for an Illinois personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if a motorist, passenger occupant, or pedestrian gets hurt as a result.

Des Plaines accident kills Chicago woman, Daily Herald, March 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois DMV Guide
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Posted On: March 9, 2009

Illinois Teen Driving Accident Kills One Teenager and Injures Another

In Illinois, one teenager is dead and another is injured after teen driver Dalton Mittendorf crashed a Jeep Liberty into a utility pole. The 17-year-old teen motorist is accused of driving the vehicle at a high speed when it jumped a hilltop, running off the road before striking the pole and overturning.

17-year-old Kelsey E Glass, a passenger in the Jeep, was pronounced dead at the Illinois motor vehicle accident site. Another teen passenger, 17-year-old Frank E Fortman III, sustained minor injuries.

Mittendorf, who suffered serious injuries, was transported by air to the hospital. According to the Illinois state police, Glass and Mittendorf did not appear to be wearing seat belts when the auto accident happened.

The AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety says that while teen driving accidents can cause serious or deaths among teenage drivers, the occupants of the vehicle, other motorists, and pedestrians are at even higher risk of getting hurt or dying:

• 28,138 people were killed in teen driving accidents from 1998 through 2007.
• About 30% of the victims were the teen motorists.
• The rest of the victims were people who were riding in the vehicles with the teen drivers, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, and pedalcyclists.

Risks associated with teen drivers:

• Lack of experience
• Tendency to speed drive
• Drunk driving
• Failure to wear seat belts
• Distracted driving

Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes tend to be a leading cause of deaths among teenagers. Illinois’s graduated licensing program gives teen drivers the opportunity to gain experience and develop safety skills before they becoming fully licensed.

Belknap teen dies in car crash,, March 3, 2009

Teen crashes more likely to kill others,, March 2, 2009

Graduated Licenser Service, Cyber Drive Illinois
Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Related Web Resources:
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Beginning Teenage Drivers, NHTSA

New Teen Drivers

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