July 5, 2010

Preventing Illinois Bicycle Accidents: Governor Pat Quinn Signs New Safety Bills in Chicago

In Arlington Heights today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the state’s new bicycle safety legislation, turning them into law. One bill imposes new penalties on reckless drivers and those that drive too close to cyclists. The other creates “Share the Road” license plates that will be sold so that funds can go toward education campaigns. Quinn says the new laws will remind motorists to watch out for bicyclists while hopefully keeping the latter safe.

Our Chicago, Illinois car accident lawyers applaud any efforts made to keep bicyclists safe. Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles formally adopted a number of edits to their design polices that will hopefully make it easier and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians to get around.

For far too long, too many arterial roads have lacked sidewalks, many large intersections were not designed in a way that made crossing the street safe or easy, and merely an extra 12-inchse of extra width in travel lanes on high-speed, busy roads, was considered sufficient room for bicyclists to ride safely. While Illinois bicycle accidents can occur because of rider mistakes or carelessness, many Chicago bicycle accidents happen because roads are poorly designed accommodate cyclists or because a driver was negligent.

Bicycle accidents can result in serious Chicago personal injuries for victims who only have a helmet to protect from serious injuries. Our Chicago car accident law firm represents clients injured in all kinds of motor vehicle crashes. We are committed to obtaining our clients’ Chicago injury compensation for them.

Quinn signs bicycle safety legislation, Daily Herald, July 5, 2010

IDOT Complete Streets – History and Status, League of Illinois Bicyclists

Related Web Resources:
Bicyclists and other cyclists, Traffic Safety, NHTSA (PDF)

Illinois Department of Transportation

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May 14, 2010

Chicago Car Accident that Killed One Pedestrian and Injured at Least Eight Other People Leads to DUI Charges

Hector Ramirez is charged with aggravated DUI in a Southwest Side car crash involving a death, reckless homicide, aggravated DUI without a driver’s license, operating a vehicle without insurance, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, driving without a valid license, and not using due care for a pedestrian in a roadway. The 32-year-old is accused of causing a Chicago car accident that involved his vehicle hitting three pedestrians and three other autos on May 7.

One of the pedestrians, 25-year-old Jamie Castillo, was later pronounced dead at a Cook County hospital. Three adults were admitted to hospitals in serious-to-critical condition. Four others were admitted in good-to-fair condition. One young child was admitted to Stroger Hospital in fair condition. Ramirez, who was placed under arrest, was taken to a hospital after he complained of chest pains.

Chicago Car Accidents
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of catastrophic car accidents. A driver who decides to drive drunk is behaving carelessly and recklessly while endangering people’s lives. Unfortunately, even though people know better, there are those who still choose to drive while intoxicated. Often, it is the usually the people who weren’t driving drunk that end up suffering the most. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 434 Illinois drunk driving deaths in 2008.

On May 3, in another Chicago, Illinois car collision, Manuel Figueroa was waiting to enter the right lane of southbound I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) when he was hit by a Berwyn man in a GMC pickup truck who had lost control of his vehicle and swerved across three lanes. Figueroa died later that day. Police believe the Berwyn driver was drunk when he caused the South Side car wreck.

DUI charges filed against man in fatal Southwest Side crash, Chicago Sun-Times, May 9, 2010

DUI Suspected in Fatal Stevenson Crash, MyFoxChicago, May 4, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Drunk Driving, Justia

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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December 28, 2009

Illinois Texting While Driving Ban Goes Into Effect on January 1, 2010

Beginning New Year’s Day, it will no longer be legal for Illinois motorists to text message while driving. While this distracted driving activity has been banned in Chicago for over a year, the prohibition will now be statewide.

Authorities will be allowed to stop a driver if they suspect that he or she is texting. They also can look at your PDA or cell phone to determine whether you were texting, IMing, or online.

In the last year, safety and transportation officials have spoken about the dangers that texting while driving presents, including increasing a driver’s risk of causing a deadly motor vehicle crash. On Tuesday, the Obama Administration launched distraction.gov, which discusses the dangers caused by distracted driving. According to distraction.gov, the three main types of distractions while driving are:

Manual – results in the motorist taking at least one hand off the steering wheel.
Visual – the driver’s eyes are off the road.
Cognitive – the driver’s mind is not focused on driving.

Texting while driving involves at least two of these distractions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says over one-fourth of the 1.2 million auto collisions that occur each year in the US involve a distracted driver.

Our Chicago, Illinois car accident lawyers have blogged in the past about the risks of texting while driving and the statistics which support the claim that way too many people are getting hurt or dying because drivers can’t control the compulsion to send and receive texts just long enough to arrive safely at their destinations. We are hoping that more drivers will abide by this new ban and refrain from texting while driving.

Unfortunately, not only do many texting motorists forget that this seemingly harmless activity can kill people, but also they can be held liable for Chicago, Illinois personal injury or wrongful death if they cause a catastrophic car crash that hurts or kills another person.

Obama administration unveils new effort to combat distracted driving, DetNews, December 29, 2009

How to deal with the new Illinois ban on texting while driving, Daily Herald, December 28, 2009

Related Web Resources:


Scary statistics on teen texting, calling while driving, The Seattle Times, November 17, 2009

Cell Phone Driving Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association

Continue reading "Illinois Texting While Driving Ban Goes Into Effect on January 1, 2010" »

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June 3, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Law Firm: Local Lawmaker Wants Red Light Runners to Take Safety Course

In Chicago, the City Council’s Finance Committee Chairman, Edward M. Burke, has introduced an ordinance telling the Department of Administrative Hearings to come up with a “red light education program” that Chicago drivers caught on red light cameras would have to take. The cost for the course is $25 and would focus on helping the motorists become repeat offenders. Drivers that did not complete the course would be fined $50. Already, red light camera runners must pay a $100 fine.

Burke says the course could help decrease the number of Chicago motor vehicle accidents involving people driving through an intersection even when they are supposed to stop at a red light. Statistically, 27% of the six million US motor vehicle crashes that occur every year take place at intersections.

According to US traffic statistics, about 153,000 people were hurt and nearly 900 others died in motor vehicle crashes involving someone running through a red light. About 50% of these victims were either occupants in the vehicle that was not running the red light or pedestrians.

Currently, there are red light cameras in 143 Chicago intersections that are known for spots for traffic accidents. Another 39 cameras will go up later in the year and by 2012, 330 Chicago intersections will have red light cameras. There has been a 59% decrease in red light running since the cameras were installed.

In 2008, the City of Chicago made $44.8 million from the 579,560 traffic tickets that were issued because people were caught on camera running red lights. Between January and March 2009, 148,612 tickets were issued to red light runners, generating $13.3 million in revenue.

Some Facts About Red Light Cameras in Illinois:

• Regardless of who drove through the red light, in Illinois, it is the owner of the vehicle that gets the ticket.
• An Illinois red light ticket will not affect your insurance rates or driving record.
• Under Illinois law, the red light cameras cannot take a picture of the driver’s face.
• Most Illinois red light violations occur on weekends.

Drivers nabbed by red light cameras may need school, Chicago Sun-Times, June 3, 2009

10 facts about red-light cameras, Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Q & A: Red Light Cameras, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Traffic Safety Fact Sheets, NHTSA

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May 20, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Lawyers: Illinois Senate Approves Ban on Text-Messaging and Internet Surfing While Driving

Yesterday, the Illinois Senate approved a ban on text messaging and surfing the Internet while operating a motor vehicle. The measure would still let drivers pull over onto the shoulder of a road to search the Web or send and receive text messages without fear of reprisals from an Illinois law enforcement officer. A motorist would also still be able to use a cell phone for GPS purposes.

While some Illinois lawmakers, such as Sen. Kwame Raoul, are concerned the legislation would give locals cops an excuse to engage in racial profiling when pulling people over, others, including Sen. Martin Sandoval, who sponsored the legislation, says the ban would create safer roads. Text messaging has recently been cited as one of the reasons why car accidents happen.

The legislation now goes to the House for approval. Also on Tuesday, the Illinois Senate approved legislation that banned cell phone use in school zones and construction areas unless the motorist is using an earpieces with the phone.

Illinois Cell Phone Driving Laws
Currently, Illinois lets localities determine their own cell phone driving laws. Chicago has a ban on handheld cell phone use while driving. Statewide, teen drivers younger than age 19 cannot use a cell phone or any other hand-held communication device and drive a vehicle at the same time. School bus drivers cannot use a cell phone while there are children riding the bus.

A new study by Vlingo, the maker of mobile phone speech-recognition technology, found that 26% of people surveyed say they still text while driving even though they know that the habit can lead to fatal motor vehicle accidents. This is just a slight decline from the 28% of drivers that took the survey last year that admitted to text messaging while operating a vehicle. Also, among those surveyed:

• Almost 60% of teen drivers say the text while they drive.
• 49% of 20- to 29-year-olds confessed to texting while in the driver’s seat.
• 13% of drivers in the over 50 age group say the send, receive, and read texts while driving.

Illinois Senate OKs ban on texting or surfing while driving, Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2009

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

Driving While Texting Still Popular Despite Bans: Survey, VOXEO, May 20, 2009

Continue reading "Chicago Car Accident Lawyers: Illinois Senate Approves Ban on Text-Messaging and Internet Surfing While Driving" »

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