29216Every year, the number of traffic accidents and the resulting injuries and fatalities are closely monitored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA describes its mission as to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce vehicle-related crashes. This is an incredibly important task as car accidents continue to be a leading cause of death among Americans of all ages, leading to the loss of tens of thousands of lives annually and causing pain and suffering to hundreds of thousands.

As part of its mission, NHTSA monitors numerous factors that go into and stem from traffic crashes each year and a review of their preliminary data from 2015 shows an increase in the total number of fatalities by 7.7 percent over 2014 numbers.

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71116(2)There are so many aspects that factor into train safety that it can be difficult for an average passenger or a Chicago driver to understand train incidents fully. While trains in Illinois serve a vital purpose, they also present a very real risk of causing or being involved in an accident, potentially altering countless lives and leading to devastation that affects an entire community. So when things go wrong with a train, who is to blame?

It all depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding a particular train accident. Fault can lie with any individual involved in a collision and will be based upon the laws of Illinois, including who had the right-of-way and whether anyone acted in a negligent or reckless manner.

The victims of these train incidents should know that they have legal rights which may enable them to recover for the totality of the harm they suffer including any medical expenses incurred, lost wages experienced, and pain and suffering endured. However, to be able to recover financially, victims must act affirmatively to protect their rights within a time period specified by law or they will be barred from acting forever. Working with a personal injury attorney can help victims receive the amount of compensation they deserve and can ensure that someone is on the victim’s side, fighting for his or her rights.

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29216The results of a new study indicate that drivers who make less money are paying substantially more for the same insurance as drivers who earn more, despite having identical driving records.

The study is based on a collection of data covering hypothetical drivers in 15 cities. Five major insurers were included in the study to give the data a more representative result, including Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Progressive, and State Farm. Researchers used a hypothetical married man and a woman who both were employed in white collar professions, both maintained auto insurance in the prior six months, and owned their cars. In comparison, researchers also sought quotes for a single man and single female who worked blue collar jobs, had not previously owned a car for six months or had automobile insurance, and rented their homes.

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61616There is nothing easy about working as a bicycle messenger in the City of Chicago. Cyclists spend their days hurriedly riding from one location to another, picking up goods and dropping them off at different offices in and around the Loop. These workers are expected to ride in extreme heat, extreme cold, rain, wind, and sleet. Some are expected to ride in the snow. And factors like traffic, pedestrian presence near the roadways, and the limited bicycle parking around the city are not supposed to be an issue for them.

So why do bicycle messengers even exist, and who would voluntarily take a job as a bike courier? The purpose of bike messengers is simple: to transport items a short distance in a cost-effective manner. Companies do not need to worry about paying their bike messengers for gas or parking fees. Each bike does not need to carry individual insurance. And bikes can move about Chicago in a much more time efficient manner than cars. Those who agree to work as bike messengers tend to enjoy riding a bicycle for pleasure. They like to be outdoors, tend to be young, and are overwhelmingly male.

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6716(2)Pedestrian safety matters to everyone in Chicago because everyone is a pedestrian at some point in time. Most people who frequent the downtown area walk quite a lot. They may walk the streets to get to lunch or simply walk from a parking spot to their office. Others walk from an L station or a bus stop to their jobs or they may walk to Union Station or Ogilvie to head home in the evenings. Even hailing a cab or an Uber ride may require a small amount of walking.

If you ride a skateboard, coast on some in-line skates, use a walker or a wheelchair, push a stroller (or ride in one for that matter), or simply use your feet to get around, you are classified as a pedestrian in Illinois.

Though everyone should be aware of pedestrian safety issues and should act in a manner that limits the number of pedestrian accidents that happen every year, recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) reveals that not enough is being done to keep our walkers safe. Far too many are losing their lives or becoming seriously injured in traffic collisions and the harm that is caused by these events extends to victims’ family members, friends, loved ones, and coworkers.

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53016These days, people in Chicago have numerous reasons for choosing to ride a bicycle around the city. Some opt for two-wheeled transportation because traffic and parking are so horrendous throughout downtown that cycling can save them a lot of headaches. Others realize that owning and insuring a car in the metro area is very costly and may not be worth the price if you only need to travel short distances. And yet others still see the benefits of cycling on the environment or on their physical health and opt to ride for those reasons.

The reasons behind why an individual rides a bicycle in Illinois do not matter. What matters is that these individuals are legally authorized to ride in the roadways except where expressly prohibited and by doing so, riders are protected by the rights and laws that apply to all forms of traffic.

Yet despite the legal status of cyclists here, far too many motorists ignore the rights of these bicyclists and instead act in a manner that poses a threat to public safety.

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51716If you live in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, pedestrian safety is likely a bigger issue than you realize. The overall proportion of pedestrian collisions may be small compared to vehicular crashes but the damage that results is often much greater. For example, in 2014, pedestrian accidents made up only 1.6 percent of all the collisions in Illinois but made up nearly 6.8 percent of all traffic accident injuries and 14.4 percent of all traffic deaths.

Pedestrian safety concerns should be important to our citizens for two primary reasons: first, everyone is a pedestrian at some point in time and therefore may find themselves the victims of a crash, and second, if you use any form of transit other than walking, you may collide with a pedestrian and cause that individual harm, potentially leading to legal consequences for you.

So if pedestrian safety continues to be a problem and one that affects everyone, what can be done to improve the state of affairs in our neighborhoods?

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5316In 2014, the Governors Highway Safety Administration concluded that Illinois had the fifth highest rate of bicycle fatalities between 2010 and 2012. During that three year period, Illinois recorded 80 deaths in bicycle accidents across the state, and a large number of them happened in the greater Chicago area.

Whether you ride a bicycle or not, it is important to realize that bicycle safety affects your daily life. If you take a bus, a train, drive a car, or simply walk, you will cross paths with bicyclists at some point as a non-rider and you may be involved in a crash with a cyclist. If you happen to ride, you are already aware of the many threats that present themselves along a typical Chicago route and you have been the unfortunate victim of collision-related injuries.

But why do Illinois and Chicago see so many bicycle crashes, and what can be done to stem or even prevent these incidents from occurring?

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42916These days, it may seem like a new automobile recall is being announced every week, and with good reason: over the last few years, more recalls have been issued than at any time in the past. Many motorists have found that the cars they own have been recalled multiple times for unrelated issues that range from the minor to the severe, leaving them wondering just how safe any car on the road may be.

Now, in two new recalls, Ford has announced that approximately 283,000 vehicles will need to be serviced to be safe.

The first recall affects roughly 81,000 Ford Explorer SUVs and Police Interceptor models in North America manufactured between 2014 and 2015. These vehicles have a problem with the rear suspension that could lead to fracturing resulting from poor welds. The other recall focuses on 202,000 cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs with a faulty transmission. These vehicles include 2011 Ford F-150 pickup trucks, 2012 Ford F-150 pickup trucks, 2012 Ford Expeditions, 2012 Ford Mustangs, and 2012 Lincoln Navigators. Officials state that a flaw in the transmission can cause the unit to downshift unintentionally, potentially leading to car accidents or other collisions.

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41316(3)In Illinois, traffic can take many forms. Cars, trucks, SUVS, and vans are common on our roadways but they are far from the only types of traffic in the state. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians can all be traffic and can affect the road conditions of those around them.

Unfortunately, this means that no one is safe from the threat posed by a traffic accident or a collision as these incidents can happen with little or even no warning. Often, an innocent party is involved in a crash when another person makes a mistake or an error, causing someone who did nothing wrong to suffer nonetheless. This is a common tale when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs and may lead to the need for emergency medical treatment.

But why do so many pedestrians find themselves the victims of collisions, and what can be done to reduce those crashes? According to experts, eliminating distractions among drivers and pedestrians alike may do much to protect public safety and improve the driving and walking conditions for all.

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