December 3, 2010

A Chicago Car Accident Caused by a Drowsy Driver Can Be Grounds for Cook County Personal Injury Case

If you are like most people, you’ve inevitably gotten in the driver’s seat while feeling exhausted. But did you know that some safety experts consider driving while drowsy to be as dangerous as driving while drunk? If you or someone you love was injured in a Chicago car accident because the other driver feel asleep at the wheel, you may have grounds for a Cook County injury case.

According to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one in six fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. Meantime, the National Highway Traffic Safety Foundation reports that drowsy driving causes 71,000 injuries, 1,1500 deaths, and over 100,000 auto accidents annually.

Also, per the study:
• Drivers under the age of 25 are almost twice as likely as drivers in the age 40 to 59 group to be involved in a drowsy driving accident.
• In approximately 57% of drowsy driving accidents, the driver’s vehicle ended up off the road or in other lanes.
• Over 55% of drivers who admitted to falling asleep at the wheel said this happened on a high-speed divided highway.
• Over 59% of drivers who said they’ve fallen asleep while operating a vehicle in the last year said they had only been driving for less than an hour when it happened.
• Over one in four drivers who fell asleep while driving said they did so during the day between the hours of noon and 5pm.

Drowsy driving can lead to problems focusing, driver inattention, short-term memory lapses, lane driving, swerving, tailgating, missed traffic signs and exits, aggressiveness, vision impairment, slowed reaction times, and a delayed ability to process information. Sound familiar? That is because symptoms and effects of drowsiness are similar to those of being drunk.

It takes just a few seconds for a deadly Chicago car accident to happen. This means that shutting one's eyes for just a few seconds of rest could prove fatal. Many drowsy drivers fall asleep and don’t even realize it.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® Highlights Prevalent and Preventable Accidents, National Sleep Foundation

Related Web Resources:
Drowsy Driving

Drowsy Driving, NHTSA

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

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November 16, 2010

Bolingbrook, Illinois Car Accident Kills Sleeping Chicago Woman as SUV Crashes into Her Bedroom

A 48-year-old Chicago woman sustained fatal injuries after she was struck by an SUV that slammed through the wall of her first floor apartment early Saturday. Josefina Prospero was pronounced dead at the Will County, Illinois car crash site.

Prospero and her significant other, Juan Nocolas Bernal, had been sleeping in the bed when the vehicle crashed into their bedroom. Bernal sustained minor injuries.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the driver of the SUV, 17-year-old Luis V. Benito, has been charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence. WGNTV says that Benito is also charged with one count of reckless homicide. He and his passenger reportedly tried to flee the Will County, Illinois traffic crash site but were apprehended by police.

At the time of the Bolingbrook accident, Benito’s blood-alcohol level was .204. This is over two times the legal limit. Assistant Will County State's Attorney Debbie Mill says that prior to the motor vehicle crash, Benito, who was in the parking club of a Rancho Santa Fe nightclub, allegedly drove his vehicle at a nightclub bouncer, who had flashed a light at him. The bouncer was able to get out of the way.

Teens and Drunk Driving
Driving while drunk is dangerous for any driver. Teens, however, with their lack of driving experience, ability to get easily distracted, and inability fully grasp their lack of invincibility, can be especially dangerous on the road when under the influence. Over 3,000 teens are killed in drunk driving crashes each year. This doesn’t even account for the children and adults that end up dying because they were involved in a car crash involving a drunk teen driver.

Drunk driving is negligent driving and can be grounds for a Will County, Illinois car accident lawsuit if someone gets hurt or dies.

Prosecutor: Teen in fatal crash nearly ran over nightclub bouncer, Chicago Tribune, November 15, 2010

Teen Driver Charged with Homicide in Bolingbrook Accident, WGNTV, November 14, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Teen Drivers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CyberDrive, Illinois

Alcohol, Drinking and Driving

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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

September 7, 2010

Chicago Car Accidents Injures Kills Six People and Injures at Least Two Dozen Others Over Labor Day Weekend

According to, numerous Chicago motor vehicle injuries and deaths occurred over the Labor Day weekend, including:

• On Saturday, a Chicago motorcycle accident claimed the life of Lyons resident Lissette Loncola, who was a passenger on the bike. Several other people were injured.

• Also on Saturday, a three-vehicle Chicago car accident on the Northwest Side injured at least eight people. Oscar Reyes was cited for negligent driving, leaving an accident scene, failure to report the auto crash, and neglecting to stay in the lane.

• A Chicago pedestrian accident sent four people, including an 11-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old girl to the hospital after they were struck by a stolen 1999 Chrysler 300. The people riding in the car fled the crash site.

• 67-year-old Lual Mang died from injuries she sustained during a Glendale Heights car accident on Sunday.

• Also on Sunday, a Rogers Park bicycle accident involving a Mini Cooper claimed the life of 67-year-old man.

• A fiery Englewood car crash on Sunday claimed the life of one female motorist, whose vehicle hit a curb or a viaduct wall before hitting another auto and bursting into flames. The driver died at the Chicago car accident site.

• Five people, including at least three teens, were hospitalized after an SUV rollover crash on Lake Shore Drive. Speed was a likely factor.

• A multi-vehicle Chicago car crash at West Belmont Avenue and North Pulaski Road left at least three people with critical injuries.

• On Monday night, a Des Plaines bicycle accident claimed a 52-year-old cyclist’s life after his bike collided with a vehicle in the curb lane.

• A man was flown to the hospital after he was injured in a head-on Chicago car accident close to Fox Lake last night.

Holiday Weekend Crashes Kill 6, Injure Dozens More, myFoxChicago, September 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Traffic Accidents, Nolo

Car Accidents, Justia

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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,, July 23, 2010

Teach Teens Dangers of Texting While Driving, Road and

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

Distracted Driving, National Safety Council

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June 29, 2010

Two Chicago Teenagers Killed in Wilmette Car Accident After Birthday Celebration

Friends and family are mourning the deaths of two “best buddies” in a Cook County car accident. Veronica Rojas, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, and Natalie Stygar, 17, died early Monday when the Nissan Maxima that they were riding went off the road, hit a fire hydrant, and broadsided a tree. Rojas was the mother of a two-year-old boy.

The driver of the Nissan, Szymon Zawadzki, sustained non-threatening injuries and was also hospitalized. Another passenger, a 15-year-old girl, sustained critical injuries, while 18-year-old passenger in the front seat was treated at Evanston NorthShore hospital before being released. All of the vehicle occupants were from Chicago.

Meantime, Zawadzki, 20, is charged with two counts of aggravated DUI resulting in death, two counts of reckless homicide, one count of driving under the influence, one count of aggravated DUI resulting in great bodily injury, one count of improper lane usage, driving without insurance, and one count of failure to reduce speed.

It is illegal in the US for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. Driving drunk, regardless of the age of the driver, can prove fatal. A driver who caused serious injury or death because he/she was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence can be sentenced to time in prison. He or she can also be held financially liable in civil court for the Chicago car accident.

Due to their inexperience, most young drivers are already at higher risk than their older counterparts of getting involved in a Cook County car crash. Driving under the influence of alcohol, which clouds judgment, slows reflexes, and impairs the senses, only makes it harder for a young, inexperienced motorist to maintain control of a vehicle—especially during emergency situations.

Driver charged with DUI in deaths of two women in Wilmette, Chicago Sun-TImes, June 29, 2010

2 Chicago teens killed in crash after birthday celebration, Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Teen driver risks in high gear over summer, USA Today, June 21, 2010

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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May 29, 2010

Drive Carefully to Prevent Cook County Car Accidents: AAA Chicago Says 1.5 Million Motorists to Drive from Illinois Over Memorial Weekend

According to AAA Chicago, approximately 1.5 million people will be driving from Illinois over the holiday weekend. While a long weekend is always a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to get together, the Illinois Department of Transportation is cautioning that this weekend is also one of the deadliest periods on the roads.

According to the IDOT, 30 people died in 17 Illinois traffic crashes during the Memorial weekend last year—that’s about 9 deaths a day. While law enforcement agencies have stepped up their patrols and police enforcement to hopefully keep the Illinois car accident death toll down this year, it is still up to drivers to operate their vehicles carefully, wear there seat belts, and refrain from disobeying the traffic laws, speeding, driving drunk, talking on the cell phone, text messaging, or following too closely.

AAA offers a number of tips for safe travel over the Memorial Day weekend, including:

• Don’t drive aggressively
• Make sure your car is properly serviced before heading off
• Don’t keep stepping on the brakes
• Program your GPS before you get in the car not while you are stuck in traffic

Even though it is a holiday weekend, if you were injured in a Chicago car accident that was caused by another party’s reckless or negligent driving or because a vehicle malfunctioned or a traffic light didn’t work properly, it is important that you report the incident and speak with a Cook County motor vehicle crash lawyer about your case.

More people expected to travel this holiday weekend, SunTimes, May 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:

CyberDrive, Illinois

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April 20, 2010

Driver Charged in Chicago Car Crash Involving UPS Semi-Truck That Claimed Passenger’s Life

Adrian Tellez has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor driving while under the influence, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident in the catastrophic Chicago car crash that claimed the life of his passenger, 25-year-old Rafael Lopez.

The Cook County auto accident happened at around 2:30 am on April 1 on the Near West Side. Tellez was driving a 2005 Ford Taurus that collided with a UPS semi-truck, which was trying to turn left. According to police, the 21-year-old’s BAC was .16, which is two times the legal driving limit.

The Chicago Fire Department was called to the traffic crash site to extricate some of the auto accident victims. Five people were taken to hospitals—two of them in serious to critical condition.

According to autopsy results, Lopez’s death was caused by multiple injuries from an auto hitting a truck. His death was ruled an accident.

Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents
Our Chicago car accident lawyers cannot stress enough the dangers of driving drunk and the degree of injury risk that this irresponsible activity poses for people. Drunk driving is a senseless and unnecessary way to get hurt, destroy one’s life, and accidentally inflict great harm, pain, and suffering on others.

Just last week, four women were taken to local hospitals after their car drove into a business in a shopping plaza. The car’s driver, 24-year-old Sharlie Shaffer, sustained serious injuries. She is charged with drunk driving.

On March 31, a Wayne man pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and drunk driving in the June 2009 St. Charles, Illinois car accident that claimed the life of West Chicago resident Cameron Godee, age 18. The driver, Onofrio "Josh" Lorusso, is facing a maximum of 14 years in prison.

The 19-year-old lost control of his car while driving his SUV at a speed of approximately 77 mph in a 25 mph zone at around 3:20 AM. The vehicle struck two trees and a mailbox.

Lorusso’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit. Two passengers riding in the backseat were also injured. Godee and Lorusso had been best friends since they were third graders.

Four women hurt when drunk driver crashes into business, WBBM780, April 14, 2010

Man pleads guilty in crash that killed best friend, Chicago Tribune, March 31, 2010

Motorist twice the legal limit in fatal Near West Side wreck: cops, Sun-Times, April 6, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Influenced Driving, Illinois State Police

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March 9, 2010

Will County, Illinois Car Crash Kills Joliet Teenager and Injuries Two Others

A Joliet teenager has died following a New Lenox car collision on Monday night. 16-year-old Emily A. Dukovac was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead at 6:34 pm.

The Will County car accident took place at New Lenox and Cherry Hill Roads when a Chevrolet Cavalier carrying Dukovac and two other 16-year-old girls failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by a Ford F-150 pickup truck. The truck hit the Chevrolet on the passenger side, fatally wounding Dukovac, who was in the backseat. The other two girls sustained nonfatal injuries.

According to the Will County Sheriff’s Department, at the time of the Illinois car accident, the weather was clear, the road conditions were “good,” and alcohol, drugs, or speeding don’t appear to have been involved. The 49-year-old Joliet pickup trucker did not sustain any visible injuries. All three car crash survivors were taken to the hospital.

Will County Car Collisions
Our Chicago, Illinois car accident attorneys cannot stress enough the importance of obeying all traffic signs, signals, and laws. It is especially important that teen drivers learn Illinois’ driving laws. They already suffer from the disadvantage of lacking driver experience, which increases their chances of becoming involved in a teen driving accident. Failure to obey traffic laws can prove catastrophic. Not only is this tragic for any victims involved, but it is also a tragedy for the driver, who in many cases lacked the skills, knowledge, and maturity to avoid causing a car crash and made an irreversible mistake.

Common causes of teen driving accidents:

• Driver inexperience
• Speeding
• Easily prone to distraction
• Text messaging
• Talking on cell phones
• Drunk driving
• Drugged driving

Plainfield high school mourns Joliet girl killed in New Lenox crash, Chicago Tribune, March 9, 2010

Joliet teen dies, 2 other girls injured in wreck, Chicago Sun-TImes, March 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Teen Drivers, CDC

Illinois Graduated Licensing System,

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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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October 29, 2009

Graduated Licensing Requirements Lower Number of Illinois Teen Car Crashes, Says Department of Transportation

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the state’s new graduated licensing requirements appear to be working. Between January and October, 60 teen drivers died in Illinois car crashes. That’s a significant decrease from 2007, the last year before the GDL was enacted, when 127 teen drivers died.

Per Illinois’s GDL:

• Teen drivers must now have a learner’s permit for six month instead of just three.

• Teen drivers are not allowed to use cell phones while driving until they turn 19.

• Illinois’s graduated licensing program creates two young driver stages: the learner stage and the intermediate stage.

• The GDL prohibits both learner teen drivers and intermediate teen drivers from operating a motor vehicle after 10p during the week and after 11p on Fridays and Saturdays.

A teen who has just gotten a driver’s license can only have one teen passenger in the car with him or her during the first year.

Young drivers in general are known to be more easily distracted than older drivers. They also don’t have as much driving experience and are more likely to text while driving. Having a group of teens in the car can be distracting for the teen driver, who may forget to pay attention to the road and other vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 164 people died in Illinois car accidents involving a young driver last year. The NHTSA classifies people between the ages of 15 and 20 as young drivers.

80 of the victims were the young drivers. 39 of the people that died were riding in the young drivers’ cars. 37 of the Illinois traffic accident victims that died were riding in the other vehicles involved. 8 of the Illinois auto accident victims were not riding in or on a vehicle when the deadly teen driving accidents happen.

Teen driving law appears to work,, October 23, 2009

Young Drivers, Traffic Safety Facts 2008, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Graduated Driver License, Cyberdrive Illinois

Illinois Department of Transportation

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September 25, 2009

Owning a Motor Vehicle Increases Chicago Car Accident Risk for Teenagers

According to two studies by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia researcher, teenagers who either own a car or are able to use one whenever they want have a greater chance of becoming involved in a car accident than teens who have shared use of a vehicle and/or whose parents monitor their kids’ driving activities and/or have specific rules about driving.

The studies’ research is based on a nationally representative survey of over 5,500 teens, grades 9-11. Students from 68 US high schools responded to the questionnaire, which was issued 2006.

Over 2,000 teens who said they drove unsupervised were at the center of the study. 70% reported that they either owned a vehicle or were the main driver of an auto. While 25% of “main” drivers had been involved in auto accidents, that figure was at 10% for teen drivers who had shared use of a car.

Flaura Koplin Winston, who is the study’s lead author, noted that when teenagers are given free use of or ownership of a car, they may develop a “sense of entitlement” that can make them less careful drivers. She said that teen drivers who shared driving access had a lower crash rate because having to ask for the car keys made it easier for parents to monitor their driving habits. Teens whose parents were more involved in their driving activities were 71% less likely to drive drunk and 30% less likely to talk on a cell phone while driving.

Considering that traffic accidents is the number one cause of teen fatalities, this information is good for parents to know. Just because a teen driver is now old enough to legally drive does not mean that he or she automatically has the skills, experience, knowledge, and judgment that is necessary for driving safely.

A teenager who causes a Chicago car crash risks not just his or her life but also the lives of others. In 2008, 4,400 teens were killed in US car crashes. In 2007, over 7,000 people died in US auto accidents involving teen drivers. Over 3,000 of the people who died were teenagers. Over 250,000 teen drivers sustained injuries.

Ken Ginsburg, associated pediatrics professor at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recommends that parents set “appropriate” rules and boundaries for teen drivers. His suggestions include establishing curfews, restricting driving during bad weather, and preventing their kids from driving passengers around for the first six months to one year.

The studies findings’ can be found in the October issue of Pediatrics. State Farm Insurance Co. funded the study.

Strict rules from parents lead to safer-driving teens, USA Today, September 25, 2009

Teens with own cars have more crashes, study finds, AP, September 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Teen Drivers, CDC

New Drivers, NHTSA

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August 18, 2009

Woman Dies in Illinois Head-On Car Accident on Route 13

A 65-year-old woman was killed yesterday in an Illinois car accident on Route 13. Frances Koon, a seamstress, was going to work when her car was in a collision with a pickup just before 5am.

According to investigators, it was Nicholas Wilson, 19, who crossed the center line, causing the head-on crash with Koon’s motor vehicle. Illinois State Police have charged Wilson with DUI.

Three people were in the car driven by Wilson. The passengers, ages 19 – 21, were flown to hospitals.

Drunk Driving
Despite all the information available regarding the dangers of drunk driving, there are still many motorists that continue to drink and drive. Drunk driving accidents killed almost 13,000 people in 2007—that’s one drunk driving death every 40 minutes. In each of these instances, the driver who was drunk had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more.

Drunk driving accidents destroy the lives not just of the person killed or injured in the Illinois car crash, but also the lives of the victim’s loved ones who now must spend years dealing with the fact that the person they care about is gone or catastrophically hurt because someone drank too much and decided to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

On August 21, 2009, law enforcement officers throughout the US will begin an 18-day Drunk Driving crackdown until Labor Day. The initiative, called Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. Is meant to save lives and make it clear to motorists that if they are driving drunk, they will be arrested.

Drunk drivers that end up killing someone will likely face time in prison for committing this crime. The negligent motorist can also be held liable in civil court for Illinois personal injury or wrongful death.

Head On Collision Kills Woman from Lenzburg, Illinois, Fox2Now, August 17, 2009

Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest, NHTSA

Related Web Resources:
Underage Drinking, SADD

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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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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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

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

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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

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

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