Chicagoland Personal Injury Law Blog

Preventing distracted driving in April and beyond

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Illinois residents might want to know what is currently being done to combat this deadly behavior. According to The Risk Institute, the answer is that not much is happening to stop distracted driving.

A part of The Ohio State University, The Risk Institute has decided to learn more about distracted driving and champion prevention efforts. The group started a nationwide effort to address the problem and is partnering with government groups, researchers and companies.

Taking steps to reduce truck accidents

People in Illinois may have heard that in 2017, more than 4,100 individuals died in crashes that involved large trucks. Seventeen percent of these fatalities were suffered by the occupant of the truck. Sixty-eight percent were occupants of other passenger vehicles, and the remaining fatalities included pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. These numbers represented a 28 percent increase over what was seen in the year 2009.

These numbers should be startling. A person gets a better feel for just how startling these numbers are when looking at them in comparison to aviation. For the same number of individuals to have died in aviation that died as a result of trucking accidents, it would be necessary for two 737s to crash each month and kill every individual on board. If that happened, there would be immense public outcry.

Recovering after a car accident

In a car accident, it is possible for a driver or passenger to experience a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. A TBI can be mild or severe, and there may be a variety of symptoms that a person can face after experiencing one. Those who are in a car crash in Illinois or anywhere else should seek medical treatment even if they don't feel dizzy or lose consciousness.

In some cases, an individual may need to relearn basic life skills after experiencing a TBI. Residential facilities may spend up to five hours a day with patients teaching them how to get out of bed or walk on their own. Other skills such as talking or eating may need to be learned again as well. For those who have a relatively minor TBI, it may be possible to drive again in the future.

The signs of a drunk driver

Encountering a drunk driver on an Illinois road is an experience that most people would rather avoid. However, there are steps that a person can take if he or she sees a drunk or impaired motorist on the road. For instance, it is a good idea to call 911 and seek assistance from a police officer. While talking to the dispatcher, give as much detail as possible, including the location where the call is being made.

Furthermore, provide the make and model of vehicle that is being driven erratically. It is generally not a good idea to follow the vehicle as it could brake, turn or accelerate erratically. There are many signs that a person may be impaired while operating a motor vehicle. For instance, the car may stop for no reason or fail to stop for a traffic control light or sign. An impaired driver may also be operating his or her vehicle on the wrong side of the road.

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.

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