Chicagoland Personal Injury Law Blog

Brain injuries that can result from car accidents

Car accidents in Illinois can cause a wide range of injuries for passengers, drivers and pedestrians. One particular type of harm that is a major area of concern is brain injuries. These can be very dangerous because they are not always obviously apparent immediately after an accident. That's why it's important for first responders and other medical professionals to learn how to detect brain injury as quickly as possible.

There are several different types of traumatic brain injuries. Concussions happen when the brain suddenly moves as a result of an impact or rapid deceleration, both of which are often seen in car accidents. A contusion is when the brain is bruised while coup-contrecoup refers to contusions that happen both on the side of impact on the opposite side. Penetration occurs when a foreign object penetrates the skull and damages the brain directly.

Safety tips every pedestrian should follow

Countless people walk to and from their destination, including to the bus stop and the train. Commuters on foot are more vulnerable to distracted drivers and potential safety threats. Pedestrians involved in an accident may easily find themselves struggling with unexpected medical costs, physical therapy, and lost wages from missed time at work to name a few.

The best way to preserve your health is to avoid potential accidents as much as possible. This is accomplished through awareness and action on your part. Never forget that you are the vulnerable one when it comes to heavy vehicles and even bicyclists. The following are some safety tips that can save your life and prevent serious injuries.

Distracted driving dangers are growing

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study indicates that distracted driving is growing worse in Illinois and across the country. The research analyzed survey results from 2014 and 2018 to compare distracted driving concerns, especially following the significant public awareness campaigns and law enforcement efforts that have targeted this behavior. However, while the overall rate of distracted driving appeared to remain roughly steady over the four-year period, the types of distractions appeared to be more dangerous in the later study, posing a greater risk of severe car accidents.

For example, drivers were less likely to operate their vehicles while holding a mobile phone for a conversation. However, they were 56 percent more likely to use their cellphones for texting, internet surfing, messaging or other forms of communication. This type of active manipulation of a mobile device is considered to be more dangerous as it will compel drivers to take their eyes from the road and their hands from the wheel. Research indicates that fatal car accidents are 66 percent more likely when a driver is texting or web surfing. There were 800 deaths in 2017 associated with the practice.

Trucker may have caused fatal chain-reaction crash

Illinois residents may have heard about the deadly highway accident that occurred in Florida in early January 2019. It was a chain-reaction crash that claimed seven lives, and its cause may have been the driver of a commercial truck. Florida Highway Patrol made a preliminary accident report but will need three to four months to complete its investigation.

According to the report, the 59-year-old driver of the truck in question was traveling down I-75 near Gainesville, Fla., when he inexplicably moved left from the right lane, colliding with a 2007 Honda sedan. The two vehicles went through the median guardrail, causing accidents on both the north and southbound lanes.

Crashes increase among dump and concrete delivery trucks

Severe dump truck and ready-mix concrete delivery truck accidents rose by 9 and 9.6 percent, respectively, from 2015 to 2016. This is according to a new report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which focused on 2016 since it's the latest year for which data is available. Illinois drivers should know that there were 8,206 dump truck crashes and 838 concrete delivery truck crashes that were so severe that the trucks had to be towed.

In 2016, 5,483 dump truck crashes resulted in injuries. This led to a 2.7 percent increase over the previous year. That number went up 3.8 percent for concrete delivery trucks. Fatal accidents declined for dump trucks (from 369 to 367) but rose from 33 to 38 in the case of ready-mix delivery trucks.

WHO analyzes road safety laws globally in 2018 status report

Illinois residents may want to know the results of the 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, which was released in December by the World Health Organization. It focused on the road safety laws of 175 countries and how they fare in preventing traffic crashes. According to WHO, traffic crashes are now the No. 8 cause of death worldwide. This puts it ahead of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Furthermore, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among those aged 5 to 29. More than half of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. Low-income countries, though they are the site of only 1 percent of the world's traffic crashes, see about 13 percent of all fatal roadway accidents. The risk for a fatal traffic crash is three times greater in low-income countries.

The holiday season can be a dangerous time for Chicago drivers

Chicago is one of the most popular cities in the nation around Christmas. Some may love spending the holidays in the Windy City and exploring all the different shops and lights on display. Others may be driving through the area on their annual road trip towards a different part of the country.

While the holidays are often seen as a celebratory time for many families and workers, anyone who drives through or around Chicago view it as one of the more grueling times of the year. The variety of ways a car can get damaged or the driver is at risk increases exponentially near the end of December, and it is important for motorists to be aware of these hazards so they can keep a close eye out during their annual travels or daily commutes around Christmas and New Year’s.

Safety measures for traveling the roadways during winter weather

Winter driving conditions can suddenly become hazardous as families travel this time of year to spend holidays with relatives. Drivers in Illinois who are prepared for inclement weather will likely manage better than those who are not prepared for it.

These days, technology can help drivers be safer on the nation's roadways because many newer vehicles come equipped with things like traction control. It is important for drivers to understand how various safety features of their vehicles work. The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa are trying to educate the public about several newly available safety devices installed on vehicles today. The crusade was dubbed 'My Car Does What?" and may help give drivers the information they need to travel safely this winter.

Speeding, drowsiness may be to blame for rise in trucking deaths

Illinois residents have a good reason to be anxious when driving around large trucks. The number of large-truck fatalities reached a 29-year high in 2017 with 4,761 people killed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As for what is causing this trend, representatives of the trucking industry have a theory.

For example, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association states that federal truck safety rules are to blame. One rule that requires truckers to take a half-hour break after eight consecutive work hours has been singled out because, according to the OOIDA, it forces truckers to make up for lost time by speeding. Some truckers say that they become drowsy more quickly because they take the break.

Safety tips for driving in bright sunlight

The rising and setting sun can cause visual illusions and hurt drivers' eyes. In fact, the risk for a life-threatening car crash goes up by 16 percent in bright sunlight. Drivers in Illinois will want to consider the following tips for driving safely amid the sun's bright rays.

The first tip is to avoid driving in these conditions when possible. When it's not possible, drivers can wait until the sun has completely risen or set below the horizon. Drivers should know that their reaction times become slower in the bright light. This means keeping a greater distance from the vehicle in front. If the rays begin to really impede driving, it's best to exit the road and wait 10 or 15 minutes for the sun to reposition.

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Ryan, Ryan & Landa

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