April 8, 2011

Antioch Man Involved in Fatal Lake County, Illinois Car Accident Was Allegedly Text Messaging and Drunk

Police have charged David Maish with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide over the Lake County, Illinois car crash that killed a Round Lake man on February 6. The victim, Santiago Balderas, was walking on Illinois Highway 59 when the vehicle that Maish was driving hit him.

According to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office Drug Prosecution Division, Maish’s blood alcohol was .142 at the time of the Antioch, Illinois pedestrian accident. He also had the painkiller hydrocodone in his system.

Drunk driving and texting while driving are activities that when done separately can prove deadly. Place a cell phone in the hands of a driver who is drunk and operating a motor vehicle at the same time and the chances of involvement in a car crash causing serious injuries and fatalities goes up.

It doesn’t matter whether or not a motorist who was negligent intended to harm anyone. What matters is that they did and that it caused great harm and suffering.

If this has happened to someone you love, you should speak with an experienced Antioch, Illinois car accident lawyer immediately.

Recently, the estate of Louis Johnson filed an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit against Ranada Ridenhour. Johnson, 71, was killed in a traffic crash last November when her car hit his car, which was then hit by a truck. The complaint contends that Ridenhour was texting while driving and under the influence of drugs.

Spring Grove man faces reckless homicide charge, Northwest Herald, April 8, 2011

Fatal southwestern Ill. crash prompts lawsuit, Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2011

Officials: Antioch man texting, intoxicated when he struck pedestrian, Triblocal, April 8, 2011

Fatal Crash Prompts Lawsuit, CBS, April 7, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, US DOT

Cyber Drive Illinois

More Blog Posts:
Should Illinois Texting While Driving Ban Also Prohibit Internet, Facebook, and Twitter Use?, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, March 11, 2011

Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, January 20, 2011

Cook County Cell Phone Accident Causes Serious Injuries to Berwyn Pedestrian, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, September 24, 2010

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March 11, 2011

Should Illinois Texting While Driving Ban Also Prohibit Internet, Facebook, and Twitter Use?

Just when safety officials were getting the word out that talking on the cell phone and texting while driving can cause car crashes, State Farm is now reporting that surfing the Web has also become a common driver distraction. The insurer says that of the 912 licensed drivers that answered its informal online survey, almost one in five drivers admitted to surf the Internet while driving at least once a week. Our Chicago car crash lawyers are very concerned about this finding.

While our Chicago cell phone accident firm would like to hope that that people would deduce that if texting while driving is dangerous, then surely posting a Tweet, reading CNN.com in moving traffic, or sending a Facebook friend request is no less safe, State Farm says that over 19% of respondents admitted to going online on a cell phone while driving.

Granted, this figure is much lower than the 74% of respondents who said that they talk on the cell phone while driving at least once a week or the 35% who admitted to texting and driving, it is disturbing to know that there are so many drivers out there who are endangering themselves and others because they are on the Internet.

It was just last month that we reported on a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit against a driver accused of updating her Facebook page while driving. A pedestrian was killed in that Illinois distracted driving crash.

Currently, in Illinois, all drivers are barred from texting while driving. Ban of handheld cell phone use, however, is at the discretion of each locality. Chicago is one of those localities that has banned the use of handheld cell phone ban while driving.

If you believe that a smart phone played a role in causing your injuries, our Chicago cell phone accidents law firm wants to talk to you.

19 Percent Of Drivers Say They Use The Internet While Driving, State Farm, March 4, 2011

Many admit using Web while driving, Sun-Times, March 4, 2011

Distracted Driving: Chicago Car Crash Occurred Because Driver was Updating Facebook Page, Claims Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys, February 15, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Cellphone Laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Distracted Driving, CyberDrive Illinois

More Blog Posts:
Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers, January 20, 2011

Cook County Cell Phone Accident Causes Serious Injuries to Berwyn Pedestrian, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers, September 24, 2010

Champaign, Illinois Teenager Was Texting When He Fatally Struck Chicago Pedestrian with His Car, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers, July 26, 2010

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January 20, 2011

Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving

The Illinois Court of Claims has awarded $8 million to the parents of 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 15-year-old sister Kelli Uhl. The Collinsville sisters died in 2007 in a head-on Illinois car crash involving state trooper Matt Mitchell on Interstate 64. This is the highest award ever issued by the court.

Mitchell, claims that he lost control of his auto because another vehicle that cut him off was headed to the scene of an accident when the Illinois auto crash happened. However, there is evidence indicating that he was speeding at 126 miles per hour, talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend, and sending emails on his in-dash computer. Mitchell pleaded guilty in criminal court to reckless driving and reckless homicide. He was given 30 months probation.

The civil case went to the Court of Claims and not an Illinois wrongful death jury because the state has sovereign immunity from lawsuits. This is important to note, because many injury victims might balk at filing a claim against the state for fear that they are wasting their time. It is important that you explore your legal options because there still may be a way for you to obtain your financial recovery.

Court of Claims Judge Peter J. Birnbaum concluded that Mitchell caused the girls’ deaths, breached his duty of reasonable care, and drove his police vehicle in a way that endangered others. Out of the $8 million award, the girls’ mom, Kimberly Schlau will receive $3.5 million for the loss of her daughters. Their father, Brian Uhl, will also receive $3.5 million. Their half siblings, Madelyn Dorsey and Anthony Uhl will each get $500,000. The award must pass through the Senate and House before the governor can sign it and send to the state comptroller.

Chicago Car Accidents Involving Police Vehicles
Even when a police officer is heading to an accident or crime scene, he/she must still drive safely and responsibly so as to not cause a Chicago car accident. Distracted driving, speeding, texting while driving, talking on the cell phone, drugged driving, and drunken driving are some of the careless acts that can cause tragic auto collisions.

Mitchell, who is no longer with the Illinois State Police, has filed a workers’ compensation claim for the injuries he sustained in the traffic crash that killed the Uhl sisters.

Family Gets $8 Million in Fatal Trooper Crash, CBS St. Louis Local, January 19, 2011

Family of Collinsville sisters killed in crash receives $8 million from state, BND, January 19, 2011

Ex-State Trooper Convicted of Motor Vehicle Deaths of Uhl Sisters Seeks Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for His Injuries from the Crash, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2010

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, May 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Court of Claims, CyberDriveIllinois

Illinois State Police

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September 24, 2010

Cook County Cell Phone Accident Causes Serious Injuries to Berwyn Pedestrian

A Berwyn man is in the hospital with after he was hit by a car on Monday. David Paraiso, 52, was crossing the street when the Cook County pedestrian accident happened. Paraiso broke his shin, fractured his collarbone, and sustained scalp injuries.

According to police, the driver of the vehicle that struck Paraiso, 20-year-old Margaret Mary Vivanco, was distracted driving at the time. Witnesses say that she was talking on a cell phone when she ran a red light, struck a car, and then hit Paraiso. Vivanco is charged with aggravated reckless driving.

2009 US Distracted Driving Accident Facts (NHTSA):
• 5,474 distracted driving accident-related deaths.
• Cell phones were a factor in 995 of the fatalities.
• 448,000 injuries.
• Cell phone use was a factor in 24,000 of the injuries.
• The 20 and under age group has the greatest proportion of distracted drivers.
• Of the motorists involved in deadly distracted driving crashes, drivers in their 30’s belonged to the group most likely to have been using cell phones.

Cell phone use and texting are two of the most deadly forms of distracted driving activities. Unfortunately, many people continue to text and talk on handheld cellular phones while driving, which increases their chances of being involved in a car crash and causing injuries or deaths.

This week, the US Department of Transportation kicked off its 2nd Distracted Driving Summit, where safety officials, law enforcement, lawmakers, victims, and others gathered to figure out how to defeat the problem, which US Transportation Ray LaHood Is now calling an epidemic.

Distracted drivers never intend to cause harm to anyone when reading, talking on the phone, surfing the Internet, shaving, eating, or engaging in any other act that takes their focus away from driving. However, lives are lost and people are hurt on a regular basis because of distracted driving.

Driver on cell phone hit Berwyn pedestrian, police say, Chicago Tribune, September 23, 2010

Distracted Driving, 2009, Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, Distraction.gov


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September 16, 2010

NHTSA Reports 911 Illinois Traffic Fatalities in 2009

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes Research Note is out, and our Chicago car accident lawyers are happy to report that the number of Illinois traffic deaths dropped last year. While there were 1,043 Illinois motor vehicle fatalities in 2008, 911 Illinois traffic deaths occured in 2009. 319 of those fatalities were alcohol-related.

The decline in highway deaths was also reflected nationally. There were 33,808 US motor vehicle traffic crash deaths last year—the lowest number of fatalities in 60 years. Consider that there were 37,423 traffic deaths in 2008. That’s a 9.7% drop. Even the number of US motorcyclist fatalities, which has been going up for the last 11 years, finally saw a decline. There were 4,462 motorcycle crash deaths last year, down from 5,312 fatalities in 2008.

While any decline in traffic deaths is always progress made in saving lives, there are always more lives that can and should be saved. There also continue to be thousands nationally and hundreds throughout the state that must contend with catastrophic injuries, costly medical expenses, the loss of a loved one, and other damages. Our Chicago car crash law firm would be happy to evaluate whether you have a case for Cook County personal injury or wrongful death.

More 2009 Motor Vehicle Crash Facts:
• 503 large truck fatalities
• 4,092 pedestrian deaths
• 630 pedalcyclist fatalities
• 2,217,000 traffic accident injuries
• 10,839 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA (PDF)

U.S. Traffic Deaths at Lowest Level Since 1950, NHTSA, September 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Department of Transportation

CyberDrive Illinois

August 2, 2010

Nearly 90% of Teen Drivers Engage in Distracted Driving, Say AAA & Seventeen Magazine Survey

Despite government efforts to educate the public that distracted driving is dangerous, almost 9 out of 10 teen motorists continue to multi-task while operating a motor vehicle. Seventeen magazine and AAA recently issued findings from a new survey of 1,999 teens in the 16 to 19 age group:

• 84% of them know that distracted driving increase their car crash risk
• 86% continue to drive while distracted, engaging in behavior such as eating, fiddling with the radio, putting on making, talking on the cell phone, and text messaging.
• Over 1/3 of participants admitted that they’ve almost been involved in car accidents because of distracted driving.
• Texting teen drivers send about 23 text messages each month.
• The highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in deadly motor vehicle collisions belong to the under 20 age group.

Considering that traffic accidents are already the number one cause of teen driver deaths, the fact that many teen motorists continue to text and engage in other distracted driving habits while operating a motor vehicle is bad news. Our Chicago car accident lawyers has seen the kinds of catastrophic crashes that can occur because someone was distracted while driving. We understand how devastating it can be to know that your life has been irrevocably altered because another motorist was busy multitasking and failed to see you in your vehicle.

According to the NHTSA, distracted drivers have a four times grater risk of becoming involved in a traffic crash than drivers who aren’t distracted. Texting increases a motorist’s crash risk by over 20 times.

Meantime, the federal government continues its quest to make people comprehend the dangers of distracted driving. Last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the date for this year’s National Distracted Driving Summit. The event is scheduled to begin on September 21 and will involve transportation officials, law enforcement, safety advocates, researchers, industry representatives, and victims.

86 Percent of Teens have Driven While Distracted, According to AAA and Seventeen Magazine Survey, AAA, August 2, 2010

Teens, driving and texting are a bad mix, Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2010

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Second National Distracted Driving Summit, NHTSA, July 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, NHTSA

Teen Drivers, CDC

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July 26, 2010

Champaign, Illinois Teenager Was Texting When He Fatally Struck Chicago Pedestrian with His Car

19-year-old Young J. Kim has pleaded guilty to texting while driving and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident in the Illinois cell phone accident that killed an 84-year-old Chicago pedestrian.

Perfecto Perez was crossing the street in downtown Urbana when he was fatally struck by Kim. At the time of the Illinois traffic accident, Perez was wearing dark clothing and not in a crosswalk.

Chicago Car Accidents
While it can be hard to resist the urge to text while driving at the very moment the text message appears in your Inbox, refraining from doing so can save lives. Motorists should not engage in distracted driving, which takes their eyes and attention off the road. Texting also requires that a driver take at least one if not both hands off the steering wheel—one to hold the PDA or phone and another to open the message/compose one—and this can make it hard for the motorist to respond appropriately or safely during an emergency situation. It also is illegal in Illinois to text while driving a motor vehicle.

Road and Travel Magazine offers suggestions on how you can avoid the temptations of talking on the phone and/or texting while driving, including:

• Pull of the road if you are going to text
• Use a hands-free cell phone
• If your conversation is emotionally charged or stressful, get off the phone until you’ve arrived at your destination

Teen pleads guilty in fatal accident involving texting, News-Gazette.com, July 23, 2010

Teach Teens Dangers of Texting While Driving, Road and Travel.com

Related Web Resources:
Cellphone laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Distracted Driving, National Safety Council

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March 31, 2010

Man Files Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit Over Injuries Sustained During Cell Phone Crash

A man who was injured during an Illinois cell phone accident is suing for personal injury. Corey G. Ritnour says that he got hurt on June 9, 2009 when he was rear-ended by Sophia E. Rawlings while she talked on her cell phone.

The Illinois car crash took place on Horseshoe Lake Road in Pontoon as Ritnour was getting ready to turn left. Ritnour is seeking car accident compensation for his pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, decreased earning capacity, diminished enjoyment of a normal life, and disability.

He is accusing Rawlings of not keeping her car in control, driving too fast, not reducing her speed, and neglecting to keep a proper lookout.

He is seeking over $50,000 plus other relief.

Cell Phone Driving Accidents
Talking on a cell phone while driving inevitably distracts a driver and prevents him/her from paying attention to the road and traffic. The motorist’s ability to react quickly is delayed, brain activity associated with driving goes down significantly, and the risk of becoming involved in a traffic accident goes up by at least four times. Unfortunately, it is now no longer surprising to find out that someone got hurt because a motorist was texting or talking on a phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Just like drunk driving, distracted driving is a senseless way to unintentionally destroy another person’s life. A distracted driver can end up in prison while also becoming the defendant of a Chicago, Illinois car crash lawsuit or wrongful death complaint. Fortunately, the federal government and the state of Illinois are taking steps to discourage distracted driving.

Driver using cell phone caused rear-end accident, suit claims, The Record, March 31, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Cellphones and Driving, Insurance Information Institute

Distracted Driving, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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March 1, 2010

Chicago, Illinois Cell Phone Accident: Teen Was Looking at Phone When She Hit State Police Trooper on Dan Ryan Expressway

19-year-old Kimisha M. Moore is charged with aggravated reckless conduct for her alleged role in the Chicago car accident that left an Illinois State Trooper with serious injuries on Saturday night. Police say that Moore was looking at her cell phone when she accidentally struck the trooper, who was standing in the express lane’s right shoulder on I-94.

According to Chicago police, the trooper had stopped a vehicle on the Dan Ryan’s Expressway when a Toyota hit her. The trooper sustained a head injury and leg injuries from the Chicago cell phone accident and went into surgery at a Cook County hospital. Following the procedure, she was transferred to the ICU where she was in “stable” condition on Sunday morning.

Moore also received citations for failure to reduce speed, improper lane usage, violating Scott’s Law, and operating an uninsured vehicle.

Our Chicago, Illinois car accident lawyers cannot stress enough that distracted driving is dangerous and can kill people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that over 500,000 people every year sustain injuries because drivers were not paying attention to the road. Cell phone use and texting have rapidly become two of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.

Teenagers are one demographic who are especially at high-risk of getting into a distracted driving accident. Not only are they more easily distracted than their adult counterparts, but also they are more likely to text or use a cell phone while driving. They also lack the experience that older drivers have when it comes to preventing car accidents as they are about to happen.

Driver distracted by phone when she hit trooper on Dan Ryan: prosecutor, Chicago Sun-TImes, March 1, 2010

Woman Who Hit State Trooper Was Using Cell Phone, NBC4, March 1, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Scott's Law Brochure, Illinois State Police


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