Posted On: April 30, 2009

Chicago Car Crash Law Firm: IIHS Tests Prove that Bigger and Heavier Cars Provide Greater Safety During Auto Collisions

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted three front-to-front crash tests using a minicar or microcar and a midsize car for each one. 2009 model vehicles were used for each test, with both cars coming from the same auto manufacturer—Honda, Daimler, and Toyota. These tests showed that the smaller cars just don’t hold up against their larger counterparts when it comes to providing vehicle occupants with the proper protection.

Cars used in the IIHS tests:

• Smart Fortwo and the Mercedes Class C
• The Fit and the Honda Accord
• The Yaris and the Toyota Camry

While the smaller cars performed well in the IIHS’s frontal offset barrier test, they performed poorly in the frontal collision tests against the midsize vehicles. The bigger and heavier vehicle was always less impacted from the force of colliding with the smaller, lighter car, which meant that if actual occupants were riding in the smaller vehicles, they would be more at risk of getting seriously hurt.

According to crash statistics, in 2007 the death rate/million for 1-3 year old minis during single-vehicle collisions was 35. The death rate for very big cars was 11/million. Midsized cars have a death rate for single-vehicle crashes that is 17% less than that of minis.

Granted, smaller cars now come with electronic stability control, airbags, better safety belts, and added features. They also cost less and are more economical when it comes to using up gas. But larger vehicles also now have these added safety features in addition to the added protection of weight and size. And even though there are those who claim that smaller cars are easier to drive (which means a motorist can more easily avoid a potential crash scenario), insurance figures show that there are still more damage claims involving mini-4-door vehicles than midsized cars.

Regardless of the size of your motor vehicle, you are likely entitled to Illinois personal injury compensation if you were injured in a Chicago car accident because a motorist or another entity was negligent.

New crash tests demonstrate the influence of vehicle size and weight on safety in crashes; results are relevant to fuel economy policies, IIHS, April 14, 2009

Why small cars won't keep you safe,

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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Posted On: April 29, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Law Firm: DOT to Help Parents Choose Child Safety Seats that Fit Autos

US Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood wants car makers to test child safety seats so that they can make recommendations to parents about which products are the best and safest fits for each of their cars. He also wants the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to put together better safety standards for child safety seats so that kids are better protected during side-impact crashes.

The new Consumer Program, which would come out along with the 2011 model vehicles, will make it easier for parents to sift through the many child safety seat options that are available to them. Just because a child safety seat is considered one of the “best” seats available doesn’t mean it is the right one for your car. LaHood, however, was also quick to note that the child safety seats can only protect kids if they are used and used properly. The Department of Transportation says that half of the kids younger than age eight who died in US traffic accidents were not using child safety seats.

If your son or daughter was injured in a Chicago car accident because of a negligent driver or because the car maker or the maker of the child safety seat made a defective product, your child may be entitled to injuries to minor compensation. An experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have grounds to file an Illinois car accident claim or a products liability lawsuit.

Infants and toddlers are not as physically strong as adults when it comes to withstanding the force of impact during an auto collision. While choosing the proper child safety seat can minimize injuries or prevent death, sometimes serious injuries can still occur, resulting in spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, and other traumas. The trauma of being in an accident and then having to undergo multiple surgeries can leave lasting scars on a child and his or her family.

We can’t undo what happened to you but we can help you get the financial resources that you need so that your son or daughter can get all the medical care he or she needs to live as normal a life as possible.

U.S. DOT Announces New Consumer Program for Child Safety Seats, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2009, American Academy of Pediatrics

Child Passenger Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Posted On: April 22, 2009

$13.7 Million Illinois Wrongful Death Verdict Awarded to Family of BMW Salesman Killed in Chicago Car Crash During 90mph Test Drive

A Cook County jury has awarded the family of a BMW salesman killed in a Chicago car accident $13.7 million. Roger Czapski died on August 4, 2004 while taking a client for a test drive in a BMW 530i. Inverness resident Christopher Maher was driving the car at a speed of around 90mph- more than twice the 45 mph speed limit for that area of Algonquin Road.

The BMW hit another car before striking a light pole and exploding. Czapski, 22, died in the fiery Illinois motor vehicle accident. Maher and two of his friends who were in the car with them survived the collision.

Maher was given a citation for driving 40 mph over the speed limit when the Chicago auto accident happened. Despite the substantial Illinois wrongful death award, Czapski’s father Mark says the money doesn’t bring back his son and that his own life ended when the 22-year-old was killed.

Speeding in Illinois
In Illinois, the maximum speed limit on rural interstates is 65 mph, 55 mph on interstate highways in or close to major cities and other highways, and 30 mph in urban areas unless otherwise noted. The maximum speed limit outside urban areas for campers, house cars, private living coaches, recreational vehicles, vehicles towing other vehicles, and vehicles that carry a gross weight of 8,001 or greater is 55 mph. Still, drivers are obligated to exercise the reasonable and proper in relation to the road and traffic conditions.

According to the Illinois State Police:
• 32% of deadly crashes involved speeding.
• Often, in speed-related accidents, only one vehicle was involved.

Ways to Avoid Speeding Accidents:
• Follow the posted speed limit
• Drive slower under less ideal road conditions
• Drive along with the flow of traffic
• Lower your speed at night
• Make sure your car is properly maintained
• Allow for sufficient stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you
• Don’t drink and drive

$13 million for fatal 90 mph test drive, Chicago Sun TImes, April 22, 2009

Speed Limit Enforcement, Illinois State Police

Related Web Resource:
Speeding, Advocates for Highway Safety

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Posted On: April 21, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Law Firm: 19-Year-old Quincy, Illinois Man Charged With Drunk Driving Deaths of Two Teenagers

In Adams County, 19-year-old Matthew Ruble has been charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide in the deaths of two 18-year-olds. He also was charged with not wearing a seat belt and leaving a deadly crash site. If convicted of all charges related to their Illinois car crash fatalities, he could face up to 50 years in prison.

According to Illinois State Police, at around 2am on Sunday, Ruble was driving his vehicle on the wrong lane on Illinois 104 close to Five Points when his car collided head-on with the vehicle driven by 17-year-old Ashley Graves. Graves sustained serious injuries, while her two passengers, Alissa Zornes and Jordan Schieferdecker, died of their injuries. Graves, Zornes, Schieferdecker, and Ruble are all from Quincy. Ruble sustained facial injuries during the Illinois car accident.

Police say that Ruble tried to flee the crash site but was apprehended. He reportedly admitted to be drunk while driving and was more concerned about his pickup truck. Two witnesses who had also been riding on Ill 104 that night said that a pickup truck had nearly struck the vehicle they were in.

Prior to this deadly Adams County car accident, Ruble was a “person of interest” in an Illinois hit-and-run collision that occurred in Payson when a house was hit by a truck fitting a description matching the one that the 19-year-old was driving. He also had received a number of traffic tickets in Pike County and in 2008 was convicted of misdemeanor consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Not only can negligent Illinois drivers be held liable in criminal court for causing deadly car crashes, but they can be sued for wrongful death.

Matthew Ruble faces up to 50 years in prison after being charged in fatal crash that killed two Quincy teens,, April 21, 2009

20-year-old Quincy man faces prison time,, April 19, 2009

Related Web Resources:
2009 Rules of the Road, Cyber Drive Illinois

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Posted On: April 16, 2009

Chicago Police Department Says 5 of the 13 Cops Arrested For DUI in 2008 Were Involved in Illinois Car Accidents

The Chicago Police Department has revealed that thirteen of its officers were arrested last year for driving drunk. Five of these cops were involved in Chicago car accidents, with two of the incidents resulting in personal injuries.

Following the arrest of Detective Joseph Frugoli for the deadly drunk driving accident on the Dan Ryan Expressway that claimed the lives of two men, the Chicago Tribune had inquired about any driving under the influence violations involving Chicago police. The veteran Chicago cop’s blood-alcohol content was over triple that of the legal drinking limit following Friday's deadly car accident.

In the last four years, Frugoli was involved in two other Illinois car accidents but he was never given a sobriety test at either of the crash sites because police officers said he did not seem drunk.

Now, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weiss has revised departmental policy so that any police officer who thinks another cop is drunk must tell the on-duty watch commander who must go to the scene. The alleged intoxication incident must also be reported to internal affairs. Weiss also wants peer counselors in the department to receive advanced training on how to deal with alcohol issues and more steps will be taken to put out messages warning officers about the dangers of drinking too much.

Of the 13 Chicago cops arrested for DUI last year, all of them are still employed by the police department. Eight of those incidents did result in police officers being suspended without pay for a few weeks. In five incidents, officers were placed on leave or on desk duty.

Chicago cops arrested four of their own. Three other Chicago police officers were arrested in the suburbs, while six others were arrested out of state. So far, in 2009, three Chicago police officers have been arrested for DUI. Weiss is quick to point out that statistically, only 1 out of 1,000 Chicago cops was arrested for DUI in 2008. He did admit that it was the job of Chicago police officers to apprehend DUI offenders and not become one.

Alcohol impairs a motorist’s reflexes, decision-making skills, and abilities to stay lucid and respond quickly to changes in the environment. If you were injured by a negligent police officer or another motorist who was driving drunk or engaged in any other kind of negligent behavior, you may be entitled to Chicago personal injury recovery.

Chicago police and drunken driving: 13 officers were arrested in '08 for drunken driving, officials say, Chicago Tribune, April 16, 2009

Cop DUI's: 13 Chicago Police Officers Arrested For Drunk Driving In 2008, The Huffington Post, April 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
$500,000 bond for cop accused of DUI in double-fatal crash, Chicago Sun Times, April 12, 2009

Impaired Driving, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Continue reading " Chicago Police Department Says 5 of the 13 Cops Arrested For DUI in 2008 Were Involved in Illinois Car Accidents " »

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Posted On: April 13, 2009

Chicago Cop Charged with DUI Deaths of Two Men is Released on $500,000 Bail

Chicago Police Officer Joseph Frugoli appeared in court today for a preliminary hearing over Illinois drunk driving criminal charges case involving the deaths of two young men, Fausto Manzera, 21, and Andrew Cazares, 23. Frugoli is charged with killing them in a drunk driving accident on early Friday morning while he was off-duty.

The two men had reportedly stopped their vehicle on the side of the road because of car trouble when they were rear-ended from the back by a Lexus SUV driven by Frugoli. The impact of the collision caused their car to explode.

The off-duty Chicago cop, who was injured in the crash, walked away from the accident site but was later apprehended by police. He has been charged with two counts of reckless homicide, one count of leaving the crash scene, and one count of driving under the influence. Prosecutors say that his BAC was reportedly three times above the legal limit. The 41-year-old Chicago cop, an 18-year-old veteran, has been relieved of his duties.

Yesterday, family members of the two Chicago car crash victims expressed dismay after Frugoli was released on $500,000 bail—an amount they consider to be small considering that two men died.

According to records, this is not the first Illinois auto accident that Frugoli has been involved in. In a January 2005 Chicago car accident also on the Dan Ryan, he reportedly rear-ended another vehicle. Recently, a Cook County judge ordered him to pay over $7,000 for an Illinois civil lawsuit related to the accident that was filed against him.

In January 2008, Frugoli reportedly hit a police vehicle and was cited for ignoring a stop sign (that ticket was dismissed). In 1990, he received a citation for driving 80 mph in a 50 mph zone. That ticket was also dismissed.

DUI cop back in court, Chicago Sun-Times, April 13, 2009

Dan Ryan crash: Off-duty cop held in collision that killed, Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Penalties for a DUI Conviction, Cyberdrive Illinois

Illinois State Police

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Posted On: April 8, 2009

Number of Teen Driver Deaths in Illinois Motor Vehicle Crashes Went Down by 40% in 2008

According to Illinois state officials, there were 62 less teen driver deaths in 2008 than the year before—a 40% decrease. This decline is being attributed to a group of laws focused on keeping teenagers safe when they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.The state’s graduated driving laws mandate that teenagers earn their full driving privileges. .

Some of Illinois's Teen Driving Laws:

• Drivers, age 15, must obtain the consent of a parent or a guardian to get their instruction permit.
• They have to take a driver education course and pass written and vision tests.
• Permit must be used for at least 9 months.
• No driving convictions must occur during this time.
• A minimum 50 hours of drive practice time is required while under the supervision of an adult (age 21 or older).
• 10 of these hours must take place at night.
• Driving while using a cell phone is prohibited.

Drivers, ages 16 to 17
• This is called the initial licensing phase.
• The consent of a parent or guardian is necessary to get a driver’s license.
• The teen driver must not have any driving convictions for six months until turning 18.

For a complete list of Illinois teen driving laws, click on the related resource link below.

While Illinois teen driver deaths were at 155 in 2007, the number of teen motorist fatalities went down to 93 deaths in 2008. So far, in 2009 (through March 15), 16 teen drivers died in Illinois car accidents—compared to the 20 teen deaths that occurred during the same time period last year.

If you or someone you love was injured in an Illinois car crash because another driver was negligent, it is important that you speak with an experienced Chicago personal injury law firm so you can consider your options for financial recovery.

Teen driving deaths: 40% fewer teen deaths reported last year than 2007, Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet, CDC

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Posted On: April 6, 2009

Wonder Lake Mother and Daughter Killed in Cook County, Illinois Car Crash

A mother and her 7-year-old daughter are dead following an Illinois multi-vehicle collision in Barrington Hills on Saturday. Five other people, including the woman’s other daughter, were also injured in the Cook County car crash.

The deadly traffic accident occurred on Route 62 at around 9:22 in the morning. Two small cars and a van were involved. According to investigators, a Ford Focus, driven by 30-year-old Barbara Page, crossed the double lane lines, striking a 1997 Nissan Sentra. The Focus then struck a 1996 GMC head-on.

Page was pronounced dead at the crash site. Her two daughters, Madison, 6, and Angelina, 7, were rushed to hospitals. Angelina was later pronounced dead, while Page's younger daughter, Madison is alive but sustained head trauma, chest injuries, and lower abdominal injuries.

There were four passengers riding in the van at the time of the Illinois auto crash. They were all hospitalized for their injuries.

The Cook County medical examiner's Office, Barrington Hills Police Department, and the Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team are investigating the deadly Illinois multi-car crash.

Head-On Car Crashes
• About 5,200 people die each year in head-on collisions.
• 1 in 5 deadly non-intersection accidents involve two motor vehicles in a head-on crash.
• 1/3rd of head-on crashes happen when a car is negotiating a curve.
• The remaining head-on collisions that occur involve vehicles that were “going straight.”
• Head-on collisions cause serious injuries and death; the force of impact from these types of auto crashes tend to be stronger because the cars involved are approaching each other from opposite directions.
• These types of collisions can cause serious injuries because the driver and front seat occupant are struck by other vehicle head on.

Barrington Hills crash: 2 dead, 5 injured in head-on collision, Chicago Tribune, April 5, 2009

Mother, daughter dead in Barrington Hills crash, Chicago-Sun Times, April 4, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Head-On Crashes Kill 5,200 Every Year

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Posted On: April 1, 2009

Illinois House Passes Measure to Ban Text Messaging While Driving

In an 89-27 vote, the Illinois House passed a measure that would make it illegal for people to send and receive text messages when operating a motor vehicle. The bill, HB71, now goes to the Illinois Senate.

If the bill becomes law, it would go into effect beginning July 1, 2009. Illinois police officers would then be allowed to stop a texting motorist and issue a ticket to him or her. Text messaging would be treated as a traffic violation. This means that a ticket for text messaging would count toward the three violations that could result in driver's license revocation and even time in jail.

Critics of the bill have expressed concern that time in jail is too harsh a penalty for text messaging while driving—especially if there was no accident and no one was hurt. They also wonder how a police officer will know the whether someone is pressing buttons on a cell phone to make a call or to compose a text message. Supporters of the measure, however, are quick to point out that 120 people die every week in motor vehicle accidents because they were driving and texting or talking on their cell phones at the same time.

Currently, Illinois lets localities determine the laws regarding cell phone usage. Throughout the state, however, drivers younger than 19 and school bus drivers are barred from any kind of cell phone use when operating their vehicles.

Text Messaging While Driving
Text messaging on a phone or a PDA device while operating a motor vehicle is now on the list of distracted driving activities that can lead to deadly traffic accidents. Talking on a cell phone, applying make up, reading, bending down to pick up a fallen object, and reading are other examples of distracted driving.

The National Roads and Motorists Association says drivers who text message spend 400% more time looking at their phone instead of watching the road. Studies also indicate that drivers who text message while operating their motor vehicles are six times more likely to get involved in a motor vehicle crash. It doesn’t help that texting may sometimes require the motorist to take both hands off the wheel.

No texting while driving in bill passed by Ill. House,, April 1, 2009

Ill. House votes to ban texting while driving, Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2009

Dangers of texting and driving, Fox 16, November 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association

Illinois Driving and Cell-Phone Legislation,

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