Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

October 15, 2011

Disabled Cars Oftentimes lead to Car Accidents in Chicago

A recent car accident in Jasper County on Interstate 65 in Indiana surprised a Chicago resident as she sat on the side of the road with her disabled vehicle. The Chicago driver told officers that she pulled the car over because smoke started seeping out from underneath the hood. According to officers, the accident happened when a passing semi-truck struck the disabled vehicle and caught on fire.
250307_wrecked_beemer.jpg

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that sometimes vehicle malfunctions happen and there's nothing we can do to completely prevent them. There is a way though that we can handle these situations to help keep everyone in the vehicle safe. There are certain safety tips that motorists should remember and exercise if they're ever stuck on the side of the road with a disabled vehicle.

The accident report stated that the Chicago driver and the 24-year-old passenger got out of the vehicle after they pulled it off to the side of the road. As the two were out examining the engine, a tractor-trailer merged over from the right-hand side of the roadway and hit the disabled car.

Since the two were standing in front of the car when the semi hit, they were injured. One motorist received a number of skull fractures and a gash on his head. The other motorist was thrown into a nearby ditch and suffered from a broken leg.

The driver of the semi told officers that he didn't see the disabled vehicle because there were no hazard lights activated.

The police report went on to state that the semi struck the vehicle, swerved to the left, flew into the median and struck the barrier cables. The fire started when the semi collided with the cables. The driver was able to escape the truck safely.

Both of the injured motorists were transported to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Crown Point.

Follow these safety tips provided by Pep Boys if your car breaks down:

-Try to pull the car over as far away from traffic as possible. If there's an emergency lane, use it. If there's a grassy area near the lane, use that.

-If you're stopped because you've got a flat tire and there's no safe place to pull over, drive on the rim until you find a place. Ruining a rim is much less significant than losing a life.

-Make sure you always have warning devices with you, including triangles and flares. These should be placed a good distance from your car. The rule of thumb says that you should have three warning devices, placed at 25, 50 and 100 yards from your vehicle.

-Activate your hazard lights.

-Always travel with a cell phone.

-If your car is not stopped in a safe area, get out of the vehicle and move away from it. Otherwise remain inside with the doors locked and passengers buckled.

-If you have to walk to a phone, make sure all vehicle occupants walk together.

-Open the hood on your car.

-Tie a white cloth to your antenna.

-If someone asks you if you need help, remain in your car with the doors locked and ask them to call for help.

-Keep water, nonperishable food items and warm clothing in your car for scenarios like this one.

Continue reading "Disabled Cars Oftentimes lead to Car Accidents in Chicago" »

October 9, 2011

Fewer Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents Good News, But Awareness Key Heading into the Holiday Season

Since the beginning of the economic downturn, authorities are seeing fewer drunk driving accidents in Illinois and elsewhere, according to FOX News. A recently released federal study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surveyed more than 450,000 people and reported the lowest recorded number of drunk driving incidents since 1993.

The survey reported that we've seen a 30 percent drop since 2006, which was the peak period of these incidents.

According to the CDC there were 112 million drunk driving episodes last year. Many experts believe that the economy was a large contributor to this dip. Still 112 million drunk drivers on our roads is a far cry from clear sailing.
mlnrQl6.jpg

Our Chicago drunk driving accident attorneys understand that we could potentially see a whole lot more drunk driving accidents in the state with the holiday season approaching. Many residents and visitors head out over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's to visit friends and family members. Unfortunately, a lot of these gatherings involve alcohol. And a lot of these events can turn deadly when it's time to call it a night and many of these impaired individuals get into their vehicles to drive home.

One important finding in the survey is that there was not a significant drop in the amount of alcohol that Americans were drinking. According to the survey's results, nearly 2 percent of the country's population reported to have driven at least once while intoxicated in the last 30 days.

“The four million adults who drink and drive each year put everyone on the road at risk,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, CDC director.

Other findings in the CDC's survey:

-Men accounted for more than 80 percent of the country's drinking and driving accidents.

-Men ages 21- to 34-years-old accounted for more than 30 percent of all drinking and driving accidents even though in 2010 these individuals made up approximately 10 percent of the country's population.

-Binge drinkers are much more likely to drive after drinking.

-In the U.S., residents of the Midwest region were the most likely to drink and drive as they reported the most confessions.

According to the CDC, there were nearly 11,000 people who were killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2009. These incidents accounted for roughly a third of all roadway fatalities during that year.

During the holiday season, we can expect to see more DUI checkpoints and more patrolling officers on our roadways to help combat the problem. We're asking all residents to celebrate responsibly throughout the rest of the year.

If you think you've spotted a drunk driver on our roadways, the Illinois State Police ask that you give the nearest State Police Headquarters a call. Make sure you have the location of the vehicle and the direction it's traveling, a description of the driver if possible and the make, model and color of the vehicle. Officers would appreciate the license plate number, but ask that you stay away from the vehicle to avoid an accident.

Continue reading "Fewer Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents Good News, But Awareness Key Heading into the Holiday Season" »

October 4, 2011

Heads Up Driving Week Aims to Help Prevent Distracted Driving-Related Car Accidents in Illinois, Nation

For the third year in a row the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is asking that all drivers put down the distractions during the "Heads Up Driving Week" campaign.

This year's event is taking place from October 2nd to the 8th. During this time, and throughout the rest of the year, drivers should place their full attention on the roadway to help prevent distracted-driving car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere.

AAA asks that you give it a whirl for just a week to see if your driving abilities improve. While you're at it, ask your friends and family members to try it too!
1131636_no_cells.jpg

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that there are about 8,000 accidents that occur every day because of distracted drivers. All of these traffic crashes are preventable with a little more attention. Distracted driving doesn't only include the use of a cell phone. It can also mean eating, applying makeup, listening to music too loudly and interacting with passengers while driving. Numerous studies have been conducted on this dangerous driving behavior and the conclusions have all been the same -- distractions increase you risks for a fatal accident.

Distracted driving facts:

-More than a million people have been killed because of car accidents in U.S. in the last 25 years. Nearly 34,000 of these lives were lost in 2010.

-Studies reveal that drivers spend more than half of their driving time engaging in a distracting behavior.

-You are four times more likely to be involved in a car accident when engaging in distractions.

-Distractions can also include rubbernecking, eating, smoking and playing with the radio and they are just as dangerous as playing with a hand-held communication device.

-The number one reported distraction has been other passengers. Children are four times as distracting as adults and infants are at least 8 times as distracting.

According to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of drivers think that emailing and texting behind the wheel is unacceptable. Nearly 90 percent say that they support law prohibiting reading, typing or sending text messages while driving. Even with these viewpoints though, roughly a third of surveyed drivers reported that they had engaged in the dangerous driving behavior at least once in the last month.

It's no secret that each of us have a lot on our plate and a lot to get done before the end of the day. But we need to keep a car accident off that list. Drivers should focus all of their attention on the roadway when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These types of accidents are completely preventable and only take a little discipline and a little responsibility to avoid. Please participate in the week-long campaign and urge your loved ones to get involved as well. Paying more attention behind the wheel can help to save lives on our roadways. Get involved!

Continue reading "Heads Up Driving Week Aims to Help Prevent Distracted Driving-Related Car Accidents in Illinois, Nation" »

October 2, 2011

GDL Program Risks for Car Accidents in Illinois for Graduated Drivers?

“You want a mix of country driving and urban driving, with different kinds of roads, with different kinds of weather," said Diana Horton of the Tri-County Driving School based in Kane County.

She's talking about young drivers and their experience through the Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) program in Illinois. This program is used to help educate teens to drive though a number of stages. The program aims to reduce the risks of teen car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere.
480202_broken_car.jpg

Our Chicago teen car accident attorneys understand that teens who participate in a GDL program typically experience a 26 percent decrease in the number of teen driving accidents. Unfortunately, CNN reports that older teen drivers are not seeing the same decrease -- another reason why parents should remain involved in their teen's driving through high school and even college.

The GDL program in Illinois, according to Cyber Drive Illinois:

15-year-old drivers, Permit Phase:
-Must be enrolled in a driver education course that has been approved by the DOT.
-May not drive from Sunday through Thursday between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
-May not drive on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
-Must pass a written and a vision exam.
-Must hold this permit for at least nine months.
-Must complete at least 50 hours of practice driving time with a licensed supervising adult.
-Can only have one front seat passenger and the number of seat belts in the back seat.
-All vehicle occupants under 19 must wear a seat belt.
-Drivers may not use a cell phone.

16- and 17-years-old, Initial Licensing Phase:
-A parent must certify that the driver has completed 50 hours of supervised driving.
-A parent must be present to obtain this license from the DMV.
-Must have completed the driver education course.
-May not drive from Sunday through Thursday between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
-May not drive on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
-Cannot have a traffic conviction with six months before applying for next license.
-All vehicle occupants under 19 must wear a seat belt.
-Can only have one passenger under the age of 20 at a time.
-Cannot use a cell phone while driving.

18- through 20-years-old, Full Licensing Phase:

-No previous restrictions pertain to this driving phase.
-Cell phone use by drivers under the age of 19 is prohibited.

Researchers are finding that it is when drivers complete the restricted phases of this system that they face an increased risk for a serious car accident. Many believe it's because they're finally handed total freedom behind the wheel and are oftentimes overwhelmed.

"The expectation was that older [teen] drivers wouldn't be affected much one way or the other, so this is a new thing to think about," says Anne McCartt, Ph.D., vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

According to The Beacon-News, there were nearly 150 teenagers killed in Illinois as a result of a traffic accident in 2007. Secretary of State Jesse White says that the number of teens that died in 2009 was half that, at less than 75. He continues to stick by his GDL program, saying that the recent increase in the restrictions within the GDL program has helped to drop this number.

Safe driving advocates continue to worry about our young drivers after they graduate from this program. Regardless, parents and guardians need to stay involved in their young driver's time behind the wheel. Keep safe driving as a frequent topic of conversation within your household.

Continue reading "GDL Program Risks for Car Accidents in Illinois for Graduated Drivers?" »

September 30, 2011

Lax Enforcement May Increase Your Risk of a Chicago Taxi Cab Accident

Bad cab drivers are frequently let off the legal hook -- leaving them behind the wheel and increasing your risk for a Chicago taxi cab accident.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have watched as the government has waged a number of high-profile campaigns against unsafe commercial drivers this year. Commercial bus drivers and truck drivers have come under increasing fire. Cab drivers are often overlooked, however, despite the risk to passengers and other motorists. 898330_chicago_michigan_av_at_night.jpg

The Chicago Tribune reports that Cook County judges have dismissed the vast majority of tickets given to cabbies. In one case, a cabbie was ticketed 34 times since 2008 -- violations included driving twice the posted speed limit, blowing through stop signs and causing at least three crashes before striking a pedestrian crossing Michigan Avenue.


But almost all the tickets were wiped from his driving record, permitting him to renew his license to drive a cab, year after year. The Tribune study found that chauffeur's licenses are routinely renewed -- even after a cabbie causes an accident that seriously injures or kills a pedestrian.

The city has a three-ticket-per-year limit for flagging dangerous cabbies. It uses a two-prong process to identify bad cabbies -- traffic court and citizen complaints. However, the Tribune review found cabbies faced few consequences for current violations. A review of 28 heavily ticketed drivers found two-thirds of violations were dismissed -- or about double the dismissal rate for the average motorist.

"When you have these repeat offenders who are still on the road, that's creating a lot of danger and a lot of unsafe conditions," said Ethan Spotts of the Chicago advocacy group Active Transportation Alliance. "People shouldn't be afraid to walk."

Safety advocates have a right to be frustrated. We continue to point out efforts to increase bicyclist and pedestrian safety within the city. No driver should be permitted to remain licensed with a deplorable driving record -- the fact that it is being permitted among drivers for hire is an outrage.

Meanwhile, the cab industry says drivers are ticketed more frequently because they spend so much more time on the road; and dismissals are likely high because they are more aggressive when it comes to combating the tickets and saving their jobs.

Continue reading "Lax Enforcement May Increase Your Risk of a Chicago Taxi Cab Accident" »

September 26, 2011

Study Focuses on Countermeasures to Reduce Risks of Distracted-Driving Car Accidents in Illinois and Elsewhere

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently released a summary of the affects and consequences of distracted driving. The organization is giving the information to states, which are encouraged to make changes.

The information was taken from nearly 400 papers written between 2000 and 2011 about driver distraction. According to distraction.gov, more than 5,400 people were killed in 2009 because of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere that involved a distracted driver. Approximately 448,000 people were injured because of these incidents.
mg1UGLo.jpg
Out Chicago personal injury attorneys understand that distracting diving habits can oftentimes produce fatal consequences. Distractions affect a driver's ability to react to road hazards and could be involved in as many as 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. The new report, "Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do." aims to determine which countermeasures can be taken by state officials to help reduce the risks of these types of accidents.

The study was funded by a grant from State Farm. The report also illustrates exactly what distracted driving is, how a distraction can impact a driver's abilities, how often motorists are distracted behind the wheel, and what the crash risks are for these types of accidents.

“Despite all that has been written about driver distraction, there is still a lot that we do not know,” said GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha.

The distracted driving report made the following findings:

-Distractions significantly affect a driver's performance.

-Drivers have been found to drive while distracted about half of the time they're behind the wheel.

-Drivers have the ability to adapt. Drivers are able to focus more of their attention on driving and reduce the attention focused on a distraction in a risky driving scenario.

-Texting behind the wheel is much more dangerous that using a cell phone while driving.

States, according to the report, should consider the following countermeasures to combat the problem:

-Continue low-cost road measures, including centerline rumble strips. These strips alert drivers that a vehicle is drifting out of the lane.

-Consider enacting a texting ban for all drivers.

-Consider enacting a complete cell phone ban for all drivers. This ban is most effective when hands-free devices are included in the law.

-Keep a record of all distracted-driving accidents. This information will help officials to evaluate any current distracted driving laws or programs.

-Conduct research before enacting new distracted driving-related laws. Government officials should research areas in which the desired laws are already in effect to determine how they could potentially affect local traffic.

-Continue to enforce current distracted driving-related laws.

-Encourage all employers to create and enforce an anti-cell phone policy in the workplace. This is especially important for employees who drive on the job.

In the state of Illinois, all drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving through a school zone or in a highway construction zone. All school bus drivers and those who are under the age of 19 are also prohibited from using a cell phone while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. All drivers in the City of Chicago have been banned from using a hand held cell phone while driving. No driver is the state is allowed to text while driving.

Continue reading "Study Focuses on Countermeasures to Reduce Risks of Distracted-Driving Car Accidents in Illinois and Elsewhere" »

September 24, 2011

Child Passenger Safety Week Kicks Off to Help Save Children in Illinois Car Accidents

National Passenger Safety Week is taking place from September 18th to the 24th. During this time, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will be continuing its efforts to help keep child passengers safe in the event of a car accident in Chicago or elsewhere in the state. During the 2011 safety campaign, the Department of Human Services will be joining the ISP to conduct a number of events and child seat inspections to help parents to learn how to properly buckle a child in a motor vehicle.
1281125__baby_boy__1.jpg

ISP Trooper Mindy Carroll says that all parents and guardians are encouraged to attend these events and to have their child's car seat inspected by a certified technician. During this time, parents will be taught how to properly buckle in a child's car seat. Recent statistics show that roughly 75 percent of child seats are improperly installed into motor vehicles.

Our Illinois child injury attorneys ask that all parents do their part to help keep our children safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were nearly 1,500 children who were age 14-years-old or younger who were killed and another 180,000 who were injured in motor-vehicle accidents in 2009 in the U.S. We would also like to point out that nearly 250 child lives ages 4 and younger were saved in 2008 because they were properly buckled in their child seat. When these seats are used properly, they can reduce the risk of death by more than 70 percent for infants. The seats have the ability to decrease the risk of death for toddlers aged 1- to 4-years-old by more than 50 percent. Booster seats can reduce the risk of injury for children ages 4- to 7-years-old by nearly 60 percent.

"It's very important the car seat is secured properly inside the car and the child is secured properly inside the seat," says Carroll.

According to Carroll, the ISP follows the most recent child car seat recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Carroll goes on to instruct Illinois parents to keep all children that are under the age of 13 in the back seat. She also suggests that you keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as they're within the seat's height and weight limits as set forth by the manufacturer.

Illinois has enacted the Child Passenger Protection Act to further its efforts to keep our child passengers safe. This Act holds parents and guardians responsible for keeping children under the age of 8 safely and properly restrained in a child-safety seat. If you're busted with a child passenger who is not properly restrained, you can face a $75 fine for the first conviction. Illinois will waive the fee if you can prove that you have purchased or received an approved child seat and have had a technician properly install it into the vehicle.

Continue reading "Child Passenger Safety Week Kicks Off to Help Save Children in Illinois Car Accidents" »

September 23, 2011

IDOT Teams with NASCAR to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Chicago

Rain may have delayed the Geico 400 until Monday, but nothing takes away from the fact that the state of Illinois recently celebrated its 5th NASCAR race weekend. And this year, the weekend face opened up the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

From September 15th through the 18th, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) joined forces with Chicagoland Speedway and NASCAR to help raise awareness about the importance of safe driving habits. The event promoted both the "Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk" and the "Buckle Up America" safety campaigns in an effort to reduce the number of car accidents in Chicago, both on race weekend and through the upcoming holiday season.

“This productive relationship and popular racing venue has helped us deliver a positive message and dramatically impact driving behavior,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.
824405_on_the_move.jpg

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys understand that our state is the very first to team up with NASCAR to promote safe driving habits. Included in the event was prize drawings and a pledge for participants to make to drive safely on our roadways. Outreach programs were held in Champions Park, on the main Concourse, in the Midway and in the KidsZone. Child passenger safety was also a hot topic of the event. Drivers were urged to keep an eye on their speeds and to beware the dangers of potential driver distractions.

The vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, Marcus Jadotte, says the he and NASCAR were thrilled to be able to join efforts with IDOT and the Chicagoland Speedway. He says that this event was an excellent example of how the partnership continues to send a positive message to motorists, communities and NASCAR fans.

IDOT also invited a number of NASCAR racing teams to this year's event. With them came corporate sponsors and a number of drivers. Everyone joined together to support the cause.

NASCAR drivers in attendance at this year's event:

-Carl Edwards

-Clint Bowyer

-Reed Sorenson

-Trevor Bayne

-Stanton Barrett

-Colin Braun

-Cale Gale

-Kurt Busch

-David Ragan

-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

-Travis Kvapil

-Johnny Benson

-Erik Darnell

One of the tops causes for car accidents in our area is driver inattention. We can all do our part to help reduce the risks of these accidents by just focusing some of our attention inward and correcting our own driving deficiencies. Some of these poor driving habits include driver fatigue, driver distractions, impaired driving and speeding. These are all poor habits that come with simple fixes.

In Illinois, there were nearly 290,000 traffic accidents in 2010. About 89,000 people were injured in these accidents and nearly 930 were killed. Although this is the lowest number of traffic accident-related deaths that have been recorded since 1921, we're still experiencing far too many. These numbers can be significantly reduced with safe, cautious and alert driving habits.

Continue reading "IDOT Teams with NASCAR to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Chicago " »

September 21, 2011

Driver's Ed Vehicles Could Be Endangering Teens in Chicago Car Accidents

Your teen driver may be learning to drive in a vehicle that has some of the worst safety ratings. The Chicago Tribune looked into the matter in an attempt to figure out which cars our young drivers are learning in and the results are frightening.

A large number of Chicagoland schools are putting our teens in the driver's seat of vehicles that would likely not adequately protect them in the event of a Chicago car accident.
921217_crashed_car.jpg

Our Chicago injury attorneys understand that the type of vehicle that a motorists drives has a significant impact on occupant safety in the event of an accident. Motorists are asked to consider crash and safety ratings before selecting a vehicle to purchase. The make and model of your car can mean the difference between life and death.

After examining the vehicles of 50 schools in the area, the Chicago Tribune discovered the following about driver's education vehicles:

-Safety is hardly ever a top concern for Illinois officials and schools district leaders when selecting a vehicle for students to drive throughout a driver's education course.

-The safety rating of a vehicle in a driver's education program varies widely according to the location of the school.

-Virtually no agency keeps track of the kind of vehicles and the safety rating of the course cars.

-Few regulations govern the selection process and the use of these vehicles.

Cars.com examined vehicles that were used for driver's training programs during the 2010 school year and discovered that many of the vehicles completely failed on crash-test scores.

The bottom 10 districts for driver's education vehicle safety:

1.) Chicago Public Schools. Grade: F

2.) Elgin, Ill., U-46. Grade: F

3.) (tie) Township District 214 Grade F

3.) (tie) Vernon Hills, Ill., District 128. Grade: F

5.) Romeoville, Ill., Valley View District 365U. Grade: F

6.) (tie) Hinsdale, Ill., District 86. Grade: F

6.) (tie) Woodstock, Ill., District 200. Grade: F

8.) Warren Township District 121. Grade: D-

9.) (tie) Elmhurst, Ill., District 205. Grade: D+

9.) (tie) Palatine, Ill., Township District 211. Grade: D+

Chicago Public Schools, operated the largest driver's education course in the state. This district reportedly uses vehicles with poor safety ratings. Most of the vehicles used in this program are older than the students.

The top 10 districts for driver's education vehicle safety:

1.) (tie) Bloom Township District 206. Grade: A+

1.) (tie) Orland Park, Ill., Community High School District 230. Grade: A+

3.) Niles, Ill., District 219. Grade: A+

4.) (tie) Lyons Township High School District. Grade: A

4.) (tie) J. Sterling Morton School District 201. Grade: A

6.) Naperville, Ill., District 203. Grade: A

7.) Community High School District 218. Grade: B

8.) Rich Township District 227. Grade: B

9.) (tie) Proviso Township District 209. Grade: B

9.) (tie) Thornton Township District 205. Grade: B

"You don't want these young drivers in cars that don't have air bags or that are 10 or 15 years old and frankly are unsafe," said aid Sen. Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest.

The average age for vehicles that were used in the 2010 and 2011 school year for these programs was slightly newer than 5-years-old. More than half of the vehicles were purchased after 2009. Nearly 70 percent of the vehicles were purchased by districts after 2006. More than 80 percent of these vehicles we purchased after 2001.

Safety should be a top concern of all district officials. Student drivers need to be equipped with vehicles that have the ability to save a life in the event of an accident. Poorly maintained and aging vehicles are unacceptable for our inexperienced drivers who are already at a high risk for a car accident.

Continue reading "Driver's Ed Vehicles Could Be Endangering Teens in Chicago Car Accidents" »

September 19, 2011

Simple and Old-Fashioned Tips to Prevent Injury in a Chicago Car Accident

There are a few simple steps that motorists can take on our roadways to help save lives in the event of a car accident in Chicago. Some of the simplest steps include wearing a seat belt and ensuring that all child passengers are properly buckled up as well.

According to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, some of the oldest safety precautions outweigh the benefits of new-car technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were more than 32,750 people killed because of traffic accidents in 2009 in the United States.
602535_seatbelt.jpg

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that seat belts are one of the biggest lifesavers in the event of an accident. As a matter of fact, it's reported that more than 12,700 lives were saved in 2009 because of the use of seat belts. Estimates conclude that nearly 3,700 child lives over the age of four could have been saved if parent's would have properly buckled them in.

Seat belt usage is up a significantly from just 10 years ago. Many safe-driving advocates credit this increase to high-visibility enforcement efforts from law enforcement agencies and the increase in the number of states to enact primary seat belt laws. The national seat belt usage rate was about 85 percent in 2010.

Primary seat belt laws make it okay for officers to pull over a motorist simply for not wearing a seat belt. More than 30 states, including the District of Columbia currently have primary belt laws.

A parent can also help to save their child's life by properly buckling them up during all trips in the car. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made some changes to its child safety seat recommendations, asking parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until they're 2-years-old or until they've reached the seat's height and weight limitations. Once a child has exceeded the limits for their rear-facing car seat, parents are urged to make the switch to the front-facing car seat.

Unfortunately, properly fastening these seats to the vehicle's seat is no easy task. As a matter of fact, more than 70 percent of parents misuse their child's car seat. CarSafety.org offers you a list of instructions on how to properly buckle in your safety seat. The website also provides you with reviews on popular car seats.

Once your child has outgrown their current front-facing car seat, it's time to advance them to a booster seat. Ideally, you want to place your child in a booster seat once they turn 13 or once they're 4 feet 9 inches.

“Any restraint is better than none, but to be most effective, it’s important that the restraint fits both the child and the vehicle,” says Institute senior vice president for research Anne McCartt.

Some of the best prevention measures rest in the hands of drivers. Motorists are urged to remain cautious and focused at the wheel at all times. Safe driving habits and proper restraints can help to keep you, your family and other motorists safe in the event if a car accident.

Continue reading "Simple and Old-Fashioned Tips to Prevent Injury in a Chicago Car Accident" »