29216In recent years, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) have confirmed that the number of traffic deaths taking place on American roads have decreased. However, that trend has now come to an abrupt halt as data from 2015 shows not only a lack of a decrease but instead, a significant increase in the number of fatalities reported.

Based on its numbers, the NHTSA concludes that traffic deaths in the first nine months of 2015 rose 9.3 percent over the same period in 2014. This means that more than 26,000 people lost their lives in traffic collisions in the first nine months of 2015 while 23,796 people were killed in that time span in 2014, an increase of more than 2,200 lost lives.

Experts are now debating the causes for this increase in an effort to understand it and then to reverse the trend.

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13116(3)Automobiles in the United States must be registered to the owner of the car for many reasons. This registration process also allows manufacturers to notify owners in the event that a recall happens and a vehicle needs to be serviced or repaired, thereby providing for a direct means of communication with those most likely to be affected. However, there are concerns that not enough drivers are being alerted to the recalls that cover their cars and as a result, many motorists continue operating vehicles that may be dangerous or defective.

To combat this lack of information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new campaign called Safe Cars Save Lives. The point of the campaign is to encourage drivers to check open vehicle recalls at least twice a year to learn whether any issues exist related to their cars. If recalls are identified, owners are encouraged to get the needed repairs as quickly as possible and if an immediate service is not possible, drivers should contact an authorized repair agent to determine whether it is safe for them to continue driving in the interim.

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12716Once again, the weather forecast for the greater Chicago area is calling for snow showers this morning, a part of winter that most residents are used to but that many dread. Snow can be pretty and can make outdoor activities like skiing possible, but it can also be dangerous to the safety of those who must move about the city. From covering roads and expressways to making sidewalks icy, snow can be frustrating to deal with at any point in the winter.

Yet snow can be manageable and car accidents can be avoided if all drivers act in a reasonable manner. If you will be driving today or if you might drive in the snow at some other point in time, keep the following tips in mind so that you can help prevent winter weather car accidents:

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12216Wrong way driving is posing a serious threat to all motorists in the Chicago area. It can occur whenever an individual drives against the intended direction of traffic and may take place on a one lane road, multi directional road, intersection, expressway, parking lot, or parking garage, to name some locations.

When a motorist drives the wrong way on a public road, the odds of a collision taking place increase dramatically. Other drivers suddenly may find themselves faced with a wrong way vehicle and may attempt to avoid an impact by swerving or leading the road’s driving area, potentially causing a crash. If the other drivers cannot take appropriate action, a head-on collision may happen between the wrong way vehicle and an innocent motorist who is traveling in the appropriate manner. Head-on crashes are deadly and responsible for many of the most extreme injuries sustained in Illinois annually so they should be avoided at all costs.

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11116(2)Completed in 1960, the Kennedy Expressway has been a mainstay for most of those who call Chicago home. It can be a convenient means of transit between the West Loop and O’Hare, or a means to get to anywhere between those two locations. With approximately 327,000 vehicles using the Kennedy on any given day, it is clear that the Expressway’s importance and prominence in the Chicago transit landscape cannot be overstated.

Yet while the Kennedy can be a convenient means of moving around town, it can also be an incredibly dangerous one as numerous car accidents happen on the Kennedy each and every year. Some of those collisions are minor and, fortunately, do not cause injuries to the drivers and passengers involved, but others are critical or even fatal and the harm they cause cannot be undone.

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1415If you live in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, you know that car accidents are an unfortunate reality. The typical driver will be involved in three collisions in her lifetime but those who spend more time than average in their cars are at risk for more crashes. Sometimes, only one car is involved in an accident and yet in others, several cars may collide with one another. This can leave many victims wondering: what happens if I am involved in a multi vehicle collision?

If your accident happens in the city or elsewhere in Illinois, know that you are protected by state and local laws. You may have the right to obtain payment for the damages done to your vehicle through the use of a property damage claim. But more importantly, you may have the right to obtain payment for any injuries you sustain through a bodily injury claim. Knowing what must be done and how to complete the process of these claims can be complicated, but working with a personal injury attorney can make the process clear.

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122215Most people are so tied to their cell phones that they feel lost if they forget their phone at home for the day. Cell phones are now used for much more than telephone calls – they are the means to consume media, access social networks, and text and email others. Cell phones are so prevalent that a recent study by the Pew Research Foundation found that 24 percent of teens in America access social media “almost constantly,” and that cell phones are making it possible.

Cell phones can be a great tool and even a life saving device when an emergency arises, but like all forms of technology, they have their proper time and place. And as time progresses, experts are chiming in that driving should not be one of those times. Motorists who use a cell phone while behind the wheel are more likely to be distracted, more likely to leave their lane of traffic, and more likely to cause a car accident than those who ditch their phones while driving.

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121315(2)In today’s modern era, some safety features may seem so commonplace that they are not given a second thought. Often, that is the case with seat belts which have existed for roughly 150 years. Most drivers and passengers get into a car, put on their seat belts, and drive without hesitation. After years of riding in a vehicle, the use of a seat belt becomes automatic.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not enough motorists in Illinois are using their seat belts today, and this is leading to increased injuries and fatalities when those people are involved in a car accident.

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12715(3)What kind of driver are you? Are you a passive driver, preferring to stay in the right lane, driving under the speed limit and always allowing others to merge in front of you? Or are you an aggressive driver, pushing the limits by speeding, weaving among slower traffic and trying to dart around any congestion you encounter? Perhaps you are a combination of those two extremes, employing some tactics in certain situations and other approaches when the times call for them. No matter how you believe an ideal driver should act, though, odds are that you divert from the standard at some moments in time.

Any type of driver can become distracted while operating a vehicle, and it seems that the incidents of distraction are rising annually. Once a minor issue that rarely made headlines, distraction-related car accidents are now commonplace in Chicago and in the nation with more than 30,000 fatal crashes being blamed on distraction in 2013 alone.

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112315(4)Chicago saw its first snowfall of the season this weekend and it was one for the record books. The city got hit with the second-largest November snowstorm since records began in 1884. Total snowfall at O’Hare Airport was measured at 11.2 inches while northern Illinois saw 16 inches. Northern Lake County may have seen the heaviest total snowfall at 19 inches while Mundelein and Rockford each got about 15 inches.

Snow can be a problem for area motorists but this weekend was made even worse as ice began to blanket city streets, expressways, and interstates. Today, that ice and snow mixture has been blamed for multiple collisions that occurred between Friday and as late as Sunday morning with some of those winter car accidents resulting in injuries.

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