Posted On: January 30, 2010

Number of Car Crashes Aren’t Going Down Despite Laws Banning Texting and Handheld Cell Phones

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, the number of car accidents aren’t going down despite laws in certain US states banning handheld cell phones and texting while driving. These latest findings were based on insurance claims for accident damage from three of the states that ban handheld devices.

HLDI, which is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speculates that one reason the number of motor vehicle crashes isn’t being impacted by the texting and handheld cell phone bans is because it is likely that more people are using handsfree devices now that handheld ones are off limit and/or have been portrayed as more dangerous. However, HLDI and IIHS president Adrian says more research related to these new findings is required.

Earlier this month, the National Safety Council announced that about 1.6 million motor vehicle crashes a year (that’s 28% of all traffic accidents) are caused by text messaging and cell phone conversations. The US Department of Transportation reports that almost 500,000 injuries and 6,000 fatalities happen a year because of just these two distracted driving habits. This week, the federal government issued—effectively immediately—a national ban making it illegal for commercial truckers and bus drivers to text and drive at the same time.

Our Chicago car accident lawyers are very aware of the dangers posed by distracted driving. Please contact us to discuss your cell phone accident case.

Drivers no longer can plead ignorance when it comes to the dangers of talking on the cell phone, texting, or surfing the Web while driving. Distracted driving is negligent driving.

Study: Distracted driving laws don't stop crashes, Washington Post, January 29, 2010

National Safety Council Estimates that At Least 1.6 Million Crashes are Caused Each Year by Drivers Using Cell Phones and Texting, NSC, January 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Focus Driven

State Cell Phone Driving Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association

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Posted On: January 28, 2010

Six People Injured in Chicago Car Accident on Eisenhower Expressway

A 19-year-old driver was arrested after fleeing a Chicago car accident site on January 18. Six of the passengers who were riding in the van with him were transported to hospital. The single-vehicle collision, which involved the motorist’s van flipping over, took place on the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago’s West Side.

There of the van’s passengers were taken to John H Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Another three were transported to Mount Sinai Hospital. A seventh passenger also ran away from the crash site.

The young driver may be charged with DUI and child endangerment because two of the vehicles passengers are minors. Other charges may also be field.

Chicago Car Accident Injuries
Injuries from a Cook County, Illinois car accident will likely require medical attention. This costs money. There is no reason why you should have to pay for medical expenses that were caused by another party’s negligence or carelessness.

Once you’ve had your injuries tended to, one of the first tasks you should attend to is to contact a Chicago, Illinois motor vehicle accident lawyer right away. The personal attorney you decide to retain can work with accident reconstructionists to determine what caused the traffic crash. Was it a negligent driver? A careless auto manufacturer? Is the Chicago intersection where the car accident occurred poorly designed?

Your Chicago injury lawyer can also work with medical professionals that can assess the seriousness of your injuries and determine how much time and how much money it will take for you to recover. It is important that you have this information before you attempt to settle your Illinois car accident case. You should let your attorney speak with the other parties’ insurers and legal representatives.

DUI, child endangerment charges pending in Ike crash, Chicago-Sun Times, January 18, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Chicago I-290

CyberDrive, Illinois

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Posted On: January 26, 2010

Following Toyota Recall of 2.3 Million Vehicles Over Gas Pedal Defect, Automaker Places Temporary Stop on Sale of Eight Car Models

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. is asking car dealers to temporarily stop selling eight of its vehicle models. The suspension is part of the steps the automaker is taking to deal with a problem that can cause the gas pedal to stick.

Last week, Toyota recalled about 2.3 million autos over the accelerator defect, which it says is a separate issue from the one that prompted its recall of 4.2 million Lexus and Toyota vehicles last November. That recall was issued because of concern that a loose floor mat on the driver’s side could cause the gas pedal to jam and the vehicle to accelerate to extremely high speeds. Our Chicago auto products liability lawyers have been following that auto defect story in our Chicago, Illinois car accident blog site.

Since last year’s massive Toyota recall, ABC News reports that there have been over 60 new incidents involving runaway Toyotas, including one fatal car crash that killed four people on December 26. The floor mats were not a factor in that collision.

Vehicles that are part of this latest recall in include Toyota’s:

• Sequoia: ’08 – ’10 models
• RAV4: ’09 – ’10 models
• Matrix: ’09– ’10 models
• Tundra: ’07 – ’10 models
• Corolla: ’09 – ‘10 models
• Avalon: ’05 –’10 models
• Pontiac Vibe: ‘09 model
• Highlander: ’10 model
• Camry: ’07 – ’10 models

Gas pedal defects, poorly fitting floor mats, faulty seat belts, defective air bags, weak roofs, seatback malfunctions, defective tires, engine malfunctions, and faulty breaks are auto defects that can cause serious injuries and deaths.

Toyota Recall Prompts Automaker to Suspend Sales, CNN, January 26, 2010

TOYOTA RECALL: Reports of Runaway Cars, ABC News, January 21, 2010

Toyota Recalls Millions of Motor Vehicles,, January 21, 2010

Related Web Resource:
Toyota Motor Corp.

Continue reading " Following Toyota Recall of 2.3 Million Vehicles Over Gas Pedal Defect, Automaker Places Temporary Stop on Sale of Eight Car Models " »

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Posted On: January 22, 2010

943 Illinois Car Crash Deaths in 2009

The Illinois State Police and Governor Pat Quinn are reporting that there were 943 car accidents deaths in the state last year—a definite decline from the 1,043 Illinois auto crash fatalities in 2008 and the first time since 1921 that there were under 1,000 motor vehicle fatalities.

Quinn credits the Illinois State Police, local police, and the Illinois Department of Transportation for the drop in traffic deaths. He says they have aggressively targeted violations involving speeding, improper lane use, safety belts, drunk driving, drugged driving, and following too closely in order to save more lives. He noted that programs focusing on impaired driving, teen driving, and safety belts also contributed to the decrease in motor vehicle fatalities. Hopefully the decline in Illinois traffic deaths will continue in 2010.

Two new traffic laws that could help the auto injury and death rates continue to go down are the law that bans text messaging, emailing, and going online while driving (an ordinance banning cell phone driving was passed in Chicago in October 2008) and the one that prohibits drivers 18 and under (with a graduated license or an instruction permit) from using a cell phone when operating a motor vehicle. All motorists are now prohibited from talking on a cellular device in construction and school zones.

However, in order for the laws to have an effect, motorists will have to abide by them. In addition to state efforts to reduce distracted driving crashes, the federal government is stepping up efforts to increase awareness about the dangers of texting and talking on a cell phone when operating any kind of motor vehicle. Last week, the National Safety Council and the US Department of Transportation announced that they were launching FocusDriven, a national nonprofit group focused on making more people aware of the dangers of distracted driving. The US DOT has also launched, a government Web site also focused on providing information about the need for motorists to stop engaging in distracted driving.

Negligent driving that causes catastrophic Illinois auto collision can be grounds for a Chicago car accident lawsuit.

Traffic Fatalities Drop Below 1,000 for First Time Since 1921, Illinois State Police, January 4, 2010

Illinois sees drop in traffic fatalities,, January 11, 2010

Related Web Resources:


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Posted On: January 19, 2010

Villages of Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, and Gurnee Settle Cook County-Lake County Car Accident Lawsuits Over 2006 Police Pursuit that Killed One Teen and Left Another with a Traumatic Brain Injury

The villages of Gurnee, Wheeling, and Buffalo Grove have settled the Illinois car accident lawsuits filed on behalf of three teenagers who were involved in a July 23, 2006 catastrophic motor vehicle crash involving a U-Haul truck and its driver, who was fleeing police at the time.

16-year-old Corey Diamond died from his injuries. His friend Elliot Cellini is still recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Brandon Forshall sustained non-life threatening injuries during the car accident, which occurred at the Wheeling-Buffalo Grove border.

The catastrophic car collision occurred when U-Haul driver Ralph Lewis drove through a red light while trying to escape police and crashed straight into the vehicle carrying the teenagers. Lewis had rented the truck so he could fill it up with stolen goods to pay back money for drug-related debts.

Witnesses say that Lewis was driving through the suburbs at a very high-speed as a Gurnee police officer chased him. At different times, Lewis may have been driving anywhere from 50-80 mph. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2008 and is serving a 45-year-prison term.

Wheeling’s board is expected to approve settlements of $18,000 to Diamond’s estate for his wrongful death, as well as $40,000 to Cellini and $2,000 to Forshall for their personal injuries. Late last year, the village of Buffalo Grove’s board approved settlements of $50,000 to Forshall, $500,000 to Diamond’s estate, and $1,000,000 to Cellini. Gurnee settled all of the lawsuits for $50,000. The village of Buffalo Grove is paying the plaintiffs the most because their officers were the lead agents involved in the police chase, which they failed to call off before it turned deadly.

Last year, Diamond’s mother, Melanie, spoke about how his son’s death has left her family “forever incomplete.” Cellini says his personal injuries from the accident have placed him in a “personal prison."

There may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Chicago car accident injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death.

Villages to settle lawsuit in fatal car chase case, Daily Herald, January 19, 2010

U-Haul driver convicted of murder in chase, fatal crash, Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Village of Wheeling, Illinois

Village of Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Village of Gurnee, Illinois

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Posted On: January 14, 2010

Do LEDs Increase Chicago Car Crash Risks?

Officials in Illinois and a number of other states are concerned over whether light-emitting diodes, called LED’s, pose a car crash risk to motorists. The LED’s, which require less energy than conventional bulbs and are easier to see, are now used in many traffic lights. However, there is growing concern that because LED’s require less heat, ice and snow can accumulate on them, rather than melting, making traffic lights harder for drivers to see.

In April, four people were injured and 34-year-old Lisa Richter died in an Illinois car accident when a pickup truck drove past a red light that had snow covering it. The pickup truck struck the woman’s vehicle as she made a left-hand turn.

Oswego Police Detective Rob Sherwood says he doesn’t think the Illinois traffic crash would have happened if the snow wasn’t obstructing the light from truck driver Alex Dyche's view. Richter’s fiancé, Robert Leathers, filed an Illinois car accident lawsuit against Dyche. Leathers sustained significant injuries during the Oswego car crash.

Meantime, the Illinois Department is pushing cities to use LED lights at traffic intersections where there are red light cameras.

Depending on the direction that snow might be blowing the wind, visibility on one side of a two-sided traffic light might be obscured by snow, making motorists more vulnerable to injury accidents. In some states, transportation officials are having workers use brooms to clear the lights' lenses. They are also considering placing sloping snow shields on the lenses of the traffic lights so the snow won’t accumulate on them.

LED Signals Seen as Potential Hazard, NY Times, January 1, 2010

Winter hazard in new LED signals, Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Illinois Department of Transportation

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Posted On: January 11, 2010

Orland Park Man Charged in Cook County Drunk Driving Crash that Killed His Ex-Girlfriend

22-year-old Nick Sord is charged with aggravated drunk driving and reckless homicide for the Cook County car crash that killed his passenger early on December 31, 2008. Sord, an Orland Park restaurateur, crashed his Mercedes SUV into a pole after a night out.

The SUV drove into a ditch before partially rolling over. According to the Cook County Sheriff’s office, Sord’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit.

Mejia, a New Lenox resident and a University of Illinois at Chicago student, sustained multiple injuries before she as pronounced dead at a Harvey Hospital. Sord was treated and later released from an Oak Lawn hospital for cuts and a broken wrist.

Sord and Mejia were formerly used to date but her mother says they broke up in August. Their families did not approve of their relationship.

Cook County Car Accident Cases
A person accused of driving drunk can face criminal charges and be sued for Cook County personal injury or wrongful death if someone was injured or killed. Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous and destroys the lives of the victims, their families, and the drunk driver, who not only faces prison time but must live with the guilt of knowing that someone else died because of the motorist’s recklessness and carelessness.

Just last week, Ali Hosseini, a man who was charged with drunk driving after he allegedly struck a motorcyclist in 2007, now faces upgraded charges of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide after the victim died on January 2. Keith Kreinik underwent over 20 surgeries and spent over two years in treatment for the injuries he sustained during the Chicago car accident.

Hosseini, who had been free on bond, was taken back into custody. His bond was increased to $100,000. He was allegedly under the influence of heroin, alcohol, codeine, and morphine at the time of the tragic Northwest Side crash.

High alcohol level cited in fatal crash, Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2010

Man charged in fatal crash, Southtown Star, January 2, 2010

Bond raised for man accused of DUI in 2007 crash, Chicago Breaking News, January 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Motor Vehicle Safety, CDC

Impaired Driving, NHTSA

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Posted On: January 9, 2010

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Wrong-Way Drunk Driving Accident that Killed Eight on Taconic Parkway

Nearly six months after 36-year-old Diane Schuler drove the wrong-way on the Taconic Parkway while she was allegedly drunk and high, the family of two of the eight victims that died is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against her estate. The tragic car crash, which occurred on July 26, claimed the lives of Schuler, three of her nieces, her two-year-old daughter, 81-year-old Michael Bastardi, his 49-year-old son Michael, and their friend 74-year-old Daniel Longo. Schuler’s 5-year-old son Bryan survived the wrong-way car crash with serious injuries, including severe head trauma.

The motor vehicle accident made national headlines after Schuler drove the wrong-way for nearly two miles, disregarding signs and ignoring the warnings of other drivers. According to a toxicology report, Schuler had marijuana in her system and the equivalent of 10 liquor shots in her bloodstream. She and the kids were coming home from a camping trip when the auto collision happened. A broken bottle of vodka was discovered in the minivan’s wreckage.

The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Schuler of reckless, wanton, and willful actions, driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and disregarding other motorists' warnings that she was driving her minivan the wrong-way. According to the civil complaint, the Bastardis experienced mental trauma, terror, pain, suffering, and serious personal injuries prior to their death. Schuler’s brother Warren Hance is also a wrongful death defendant. He owned the minivan that Schuler was driving.

Schuler’s husband Daniel refuses to accept autopsy findings that his wife was drunk and high. He says an undiagnosed medical problem may have caused her erratic behavior that day. However, according to one report, he told police his wife occasionally smoked pot to alleviate stress.

Suit Filed in Wrong-Way Crash That Killed 8 on Taconic, NY Times, December 10, 2009

Loyal To The End: Grieving Schuler Denies Reports, WCBSTV, August 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Posted On: January 4, 2010

West Chicago Teen’s Family Files Kane County Car Accident Lawsuit Against His Former Classmate

The family of 17-year-old Cameron Godee is suing 18-year-old Onofrio J. Lorusso for Illinois wrongful death. Godee died in a Kane County car crash on June 14 while riding in Lorusso’s SUV. Now, the West Chicago victim’s family is seeking $6.175 M in wrongful death damages. Godee and Lorusso, a Wayne resident, had just graduated from St. Charles East High School.

According to police, Lorusso’s blood-alcohol concentration was almost three times the legal limit and he also had marijuana in his system when he lost control of his vehicle and struck two trees. Godee was riding in the front-passenger seat. The two teenagers riding in the back seat sustained injuries.

The Illinois car crash lawsuit is accusing Lorusso of negligent driving and willfully ignoring his passengers’ safety. In the criminal case against him, Lorusso has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless homicide, and driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. He is currently free on bond.

One of the passengers that survived the catastrophic Illinois car wreck is suing Lorusso for Kane County personal injury. 17-year-old Chelsea Mertz, a St. Charles resident, sustained a traumatic brain injury and broke her jaw during the June car wreck. Her Illinois car accident claims that Lorusso was driving over 40 mph above the speed limit, on the wrong side of the road, and was under the influence of pot and alcohol. Lorusso’s father is also a defendant of the lawsuit, which accuses him of neglecting to prevent his intoxicated son from driving the other teens home.

Mertz is undergoing rehabilitative therapy to treat her brain injury. Doctors had to surgically rewire her jaw. It is unclear whether the effects of her traumatic brain injury are permanent.

Driver in fatal crash sued for millions, The Chronicle, December 22, 2009

Survivor of fatal St. Charles crash sues driver, Daily Herald, August 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Teen Drivers, Motor Vehicle Safety

CyberDrive Illinois

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