Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

September 8, 2011

IDOT Worker Involved in Illinois Work Zone Car Accident Pronounced Dead

An Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) construction worker was recently hit and killed in a work zone by a Grand Marquis driven by a 67-year-old man, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Illinois car accident happened around 8:30 a.m. as the driver took a left-hand turn from Route 47 onto the westbound lanes of Route 14 in Woodstock.

The IDOT worker was transported to Woodstock Centegra Hospital by paramedics from the Woodstock Fire Rescue District. He was later pronounced dead. Charges against the motorists are currently pending. The city is awaiting the results of a drug and alcohol test.
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Our attorneys recently reported, on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, that a number of state organizations and law enforcement agencies unveiled a National Work Zone Memorial Wall. The Memorial was available for viewing at the Illinois State Fair. The Illinois State Police, the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the Associated General Contractors revealed the memorial to help recognize the employees that have been killed in our state's work zone. The wall also aims to raise awareness about the importance of safe and cautious driving habits within construction areas.

"This unfortunately is a tragic reminder of the dangers of driving through work zones. We'd like to take this time to urge motorists when they're driving through and even approaching work zones to be especially aware and alert because lives truly are at stake," said IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell.

According to IDOT, there were approximately 1,000 traffic accident fatalities in both 2009 and 2010 in our state. While this number may still seem alarmingly high, this is the lowest-recorded two years since 1921.

IDOT has been focusing much of its efforts on keeping our roadside workers safe. There have been a number of safe-driving campaigns, including "See Orange. Slow Down. Save Lives," to help raise awareness about the dangers that construction workers face in our work zones. The IDOT has also focused on making changes to help keep a safe flow of traffic through these areas. Improvements include automated work zone speed limit enforcement, safety engineering, signing enforcements and infrastructure improvements.

“The National Work Zone Safety Memorial symbolizes the collective efforts and commitment of all states for the ongoing challenge to prevent work zone crashes,” said Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

More efforts are needed however to combat the number of fatal traffic accidents that we're seeing in Illinois. As of August 23rd, more than 560 people have died because of car accidents in Illinois.

Many accidents in construction zones occur because drivers are not paying attention. As the speeds and traffic patterns change frequently in these areas, it's important to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel at all times. It is especially important to curb all distractions when traveling through a work zone. Distracted driving is one of the top causes for car accident-related accidents in the construction industry. We would like to take this time to remind you that Illinois state law prohibits drivers from using a hand-held phone while driving through a construction zone.

Continue reading "IDOT Worker Involved in Illinois Work Zone Car Accident Pronounced Dead" »

September 5, 2011

Labor Day weekend sees a series of dangerous Chicago-area car crashes

As often the case, holiday weekends in the Chicago area can result in serious auto accidents, and this weekend was no exception.

In one Illinois motor vehicle crash, a motorist has been charged with DUI after driving his SUV off the roadway and hitting a tree on the Eisenhower Expressway on Labor Day morning around 5:20 AM. The incident occurred around Kostner Avenue and both he and his passenger were seriously injured, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Both the Illinois State Police and the Chicago Fire Department responded to the scene of the accident. Both the driver and passenger had to be removed from the vehicle by rescue personnel. Both were taken to area hospitals serious condition, but luckily their injuries were reportedly not life-threatening.

Several lanes of the interstate were closed for a few hours for the investigation. Police have not released the name of the alleged intoxicated driver, nor has it been reported what facts lead investigating officers to believe the driver was DUI.

In another Chicago area single car crash, a 16-year-old teenager was killed in a 17-year-old was seriously injured, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Both were from North Chicago, Illinois. Police believe the vehicle the 16-year-old was driving was traveling at a high speed when it drove off the road and hit a tree in the area of 942 Fulton Ave., Waukegan early Wednesday morning.

Government officials stated the impact cut the vehicle in half. The rear half of the car ended up against the front of a house and the front half was upside down in a nearby yard.

The driver was partially ejected from the car. An autopsy revealed he sustained multiple internal injuries from deceleration in a high-speed collision.

The passenger was taken by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Illinois with non-life-threatening injuries.

The collision is being investigated by the Waukegan Police Department's major traffic accident unit. Police say there were no witnesses and the incident is still being investigated. Police received a call about the crash around 2:45 AM.

In yet another deadly incident, a toddler was killed in an Illinois pedestrian accident, according to ABC news. The driver involved, 45-year-old woman, has been charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

The collision occurred on Saturday on the South Side of Chicago in the West Pullman neighborhood. The victim, 23 months old, was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oaklawn where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

The child and her grandmother were reportedly within a crosswalk when they were hit by a van.

It has not been reported if a Chicago injury lawyer is involved in any of the above cases yet or if a civil lawsuit has been filed.

Continue reading "Labor Day weekend sees a series of dangerous Chicago-area car crashes" »

September 2, 2011

Officers Crackdown on Intoxicated Drivers to Prevent Fatal Car Accidents over the Labor Day Weekend

Many residents use the Labor Day holiday weekend to celebrate one last time before saying goodbye to summer. This is also a time when we see an increased number of drunk driving accidents in Illinois. To help combat the problem and to keep motorists safe, the Illinois Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies across the state will be on the hunt for intoxicated drivers. To help get the word out about the dangers and the potential consequences of drunk driving, law enforcement conducted a "wet lab" demonstration. The demonstration is all a part of the state's “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign for the upcoming holiday. Officers will be on the lookout for all impaired drivers from now through the first week of September.

“The demonstration today illustrates how devastating alcohol impairment is on a person’s judgment, control and ability to operate a vehicle,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.
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Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that most residents will be using the long Labor Day weekend to get out of the house and to have some fun with friends and family. Unfortunately, what's not factored into weekend plans are the dangers motorists who are expected to be on our roadways. To help reduce these dangers, police across the state will be enforcing traffic laws and busting motorists who fail to consider the safety of others.

Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Hiram Grau says that he just wants everyone to make it to where they're heading safely this weekend. He warns motorists that there will be a number of areas that will be targeting speeders, distracted drivers, motorists not wearing a seat belt and those who are driving drunk. Officers are targeting these four violations because ISP says that they are the four riskiest driving behaviors. If you're busted for violating any of these laws, you could face a number of fines and potentially wind up in jail.

During a wet lab demonstration, a person is asked to consume an amount of alcohol that would make them legal drunk. Those watching the demonstration can get a feel for exactly how alcohol affects a person's ability to drive and their judgment. They get to see how the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) work and how an arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) goes down.

They also get to see what an ignition-interlock device is and how it works. Illinois was one of the first states in the country to require that first-time DUI offenders install an interlock device on their vehicle. These systems require that a driver pass a breath-alcohol test before the vehicle can be turned on. The device also requests random tests throughout a drive to ensure that it's the driver who is interacting with the system.

In the two and a half years since the state started installing these in the vehicles of first time offenders, the number of participants has jumped from just 3,000 to approximately 12,000 annually.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys would like to ask everyone to be safe over the holiday weekend and to avoid drinking and driving at all costs. If you spot a driver that you believe to be intoxicated, you're urged to contact local authorities. Your phone call can help to save someone's life.

Continue reading "Officers Crackdown on Intoxicated Drivers to Prevent Fatal Car Accidents over the Labor Day Weekend" »

August 31, 2011

As the School Year Begins, Officials Focus on Preventing Teen Car Accidents in Illinois

As our teens head back to school for another year, officials head back to the drawing board to figure out ways to help keep our teen drivers from being involved in a car accident in Illinois. In another effort to keep our young driver safe, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently teamed up with the Illinois Secretary of State and Illinois State Police (ISP) to kick off the fifth year of the Operation Teen Safe Driving (OTSD) program.
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“Whether the issue is texting, speed, or distracted or impaired driving, the program is successful because teens are directly educating their peers about the hazards of irresponsible driving behavior, and the messages continue to resonate with one another,” said Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand the number of risks that our teen drivers face on our roadways. Their inexperience behind the wheel leaves them extremely vulnerable to serious traffic accidents. With the proper driving education and with the help of parents, teens can be taught the skills necessary to help keep them safe.

Currently, the state of Illinois requires that's its newly licensed drivers complete a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. This is a system that allows teen drivers to learn how to drive through a three stage process in which they must abide by a number of restrictions.

Illinois GDL program:

-15-year-old drivers: Drivers in this age group must always ride with a licensed parent or guardian. They must also be enrolled in a driver's education program and must pass the exams. They're not allowed to drive Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. On Thursday and Friday these drivers can drive until 11:00 p.m. A driver must hold this license for a minimum of nine months and complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with 10 hours of the 50 occurring during the evening hours. Drivers that are 15-years-old are not allowed to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

-Drivers Age ages 16- and 17-years-old: Driving is prohibited from Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for drivers in this age group. They're allowed to drive until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Drivers must maintain a conviction-free driving record for the six months before they turn 18 before they can graduate to the Full Licensing Phase. All drivers in this age group must wear a seat belt while driving and can only have one passenger in the front seat. Drivers in this age group are prohibited from using a cell phone.

-18- to 20-year-old drivers: A driver can now drive with normal unrestricted license privileges provided they've passed all of the other licensing stages. No driver under the age of 19 is allowed to use a cell phone while driving unless they're using it for emergency purposes.

"Teen drivers who are educated and informed, develop safe and responsible driving habits as adults - and that is a safety goal OTSD is already achieving," said ISP Col. Robert Haley.

More than 100 local high schools participated in the fifth year of the Operation Teen Safe Driving program in an attempt to help educate young drivers. These students participated in a number of school assemblies, accident enactment seminars, fatal accident simulations and other informational events.

Each school was able to fund the program through a $2,000 grant from the participating organizations. Each school then participated in a contest to determine who led the best and most effective peer-led teen safe driving program. Winning schools received prize money to help them fund post-prom events aimed at encouraging kids to stay sober this school year.

They were also invited to participate in the Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life Ride and Drive event.

As teens head back to school this year, parents are urged to speak with the young driver's in their life about the importance of safe driving habits.

Continue reading "As the School Year Begins, Officials Focus on Preventing Teen Car Accidents in Illinois" »

August 25, 2011

Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Chicago Believed to be underestimated

Distracted driving has become a critical safety issue in recent years with the continuous advancement in technology and is now a contributing factor in a great number of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in the world.

Now, Car Talk has totaled the costs of distracted driving, according to the Chicago Tribune. According to the National Safety Council, each distracted driving traffic accident costs about $1,130,000 if there's a fatality, approximately $61,600 if there's a resulting injury and about $7,500 per accident resulting in property damage. Nearly 30 percent of all traffic accidents involve a distracted driver. These are accidents that can all be prevented.
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The occurrence of these accidents is expected to be even higher than statistics conclude because many are not reported. In 2009, there were approximately 5,400 people killed in traffic accidents that reported the involvement of a distracted driver. Another 450,000 motorists were injured in these accidents. Experts also estimate that the number of these preventable accidents has increased by as much as 10 percent just in the last 5 years.

Our Chicago car crash attorneys understand how dangerous it is to drive distracted. Nowadays, distractions include other passengers, mobile devices, music, eating at the wheel and grooming, to name a few. No driver should participate in any of these activities while operating a motor vehicle as the results can oftentimes be deadly. Distractions can either take your mind or eyes of the road and your hands off the wheel.

An insurance company recently paid out more than $30 million in a settlement for a deadly car accident that was caused by distracted driving, according to Jesse White, the Secretary of State.

Illinois roadways are dangerous enough as it is without the involvement of distraction. According to recent statistics, our state experiences more than 700 traffic accidents every day. This means that we see nearly 240,000 motor-vehicle accidents every year.

Here are some other Illinois traffic accident facts:

-Accidents resulting in injury: more than 197,000.

-Alcohol-related accidents: more than 20,000.

-Drug-related accidents: nearly 2,000.

-Pedestrian accidents: nearly 8,500.

-Motorcycle accidents: nearly 9,000.

-Teen accidents: nearly 25,000.

-Bicycle accidents: almost 5,000.

Currently, drivers in the state of Illinois are not allowed to be on a cell phone if they are driving through a construction zone or through a school speed zone or if they're under the age of 19 and have a learner's permit. No driver in the state of Illinois is allowed to text message while driving. This is a primary law, meaning that an officer can pull you over for the offense if they witness you in action. The text messaging law went into effect back in January of 2010. You will receive a $75 fine if you're busted.

Our state will continue to campaign about the danger of distracted driving through public campaigns, including the “Drive Now. Text Later” campaign.

Continue reading "Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Chicago Believed to be underestimated" »

August 23, 2011

Law Enforcement Steps Up Efforts to Reduce Risks of Drunk Driving Accidents in Illinois this Holiday Weekend

Drunk drivers are the target of a new campaign headed by a number of local police departments and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” will include a two-week enforcement effort consisting of roughly 350 sheriff's offices and police departments across the state. The enforcement efforts will continue through the first week of September in an attempt to bust drunk drivers before they cause a potentially fatal car accident in Illinois.
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“Impaired driving is a serious crime plaguing our society, and affecting the lives of innocent, law abiding motorists on a regular basis,” said Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

Our Chicago drunk driving accident attorneys understand how dangerous these drivers are and how important it is to set up tough efforts to stop them. Through this new campaign, enforcement agencies throughout the state are prepared to take on these careless and reckless drivers.

Officials are also looking to crackdown on drivers that are not wearing a seat belt.

Through the enforcement period, the state of Illinois will conduct more than 200 roadside safe driving checkpoints. There will be hundreds of seat belt and intoxicated driving saturation patrols.

According to IDOT, both impaired driving and drivers not wearing a seat belt are a big problem that officials witness mainly during the evening hours. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drivers are at the most risk for a car accident during 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. in the state of Illinois. This time period also reports the lowest seat belt usage and the highest percentage of drunk drivers.

“Violating these laws can result in fines and possible jail time and will be treated as criminal acts by the police and court system,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.

Illinois accident statistics conclude that there are more than 300 fatalities each year that result from traffic accidents that involve an impaired driver. Hundreds more are injured in the incidents.

During the 2010 Labor Day weekend, which is calculated from 6:00 p.m. from the Friday before the holiday to 11:59 p.m. of Labor Day, more than 10 people were killed in traffic accidents. One of these deaths involved an intoxicated driver. Nearly 800 people were injured on our roadways during the 2010 holiday weekend. There have been roughly 70 deaths from traffic accidents from 2006 to 2010 on holiday weekends. Nearly 40 percent of the fatalities were caused by car accidents that involved an impaired driver.

Local police ask that you help with the efforts by doing the following if you suspect that a driver is drunk:

-Take note of the make, model and color of the vehicle that the alleged intoxicated driver is operating.

-Call local authorities with the information. Include the location of the vehicle and the direction it's traveling. If possible, give them the license plate number but don't get too close to the vehicle to get it. If you can see the driver, provide officials with that information, too.

-Back off. Don't try to stop the driver. Doing so can put you and your vehicle's occupants in a compromising situation. Leave the rest of the job in the hands of officers.

Continue reading "Law Enforcement Steps Up Efforts to Reduce Risks of Drunk Driving Accidents in Illinois this Holiday Weekend" »

August 21, 2011

Deadly Chicago area auto accident caused by wrong way driver

Two people have died in an Illinois car crash caused by a man who drove his red Porsche the wrong way down an Illinois tollway. The man had allegedly been arrested for DUI twice in the past, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. Police are still trying to figure out why the man was driving recklessly and why there was U.S. currency flying out of the care before the accident.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the collision occurred near Lisle, Illinois on I-88, in between I-355 and Route 53, during the early evening on Saturday. The 43 year-old driver of the Porsche was heading east when he used an emergency vehicle turnaround to enter the westbound lanes, and continued to head east. Soon after, the Porsche collided with a 2004 Toyota Corolla carrying three people, killing two and placing one in critical condition.

Illinois State Police identified the two victims as a 37 year-old woman and her 74 year-old father. A 42 year-old passenger is in critical condition. The family was on their way to a mosque when the crash occurred, and other family members headed to the same destination were close enough to hear the collision and make an attempt to pull the victims from the wreckage.

The Chicago Tribune later reported that witnesses saw money flying out of the Porsche as it was driving down the road. One witness said that when she passed by the driver, she saw the man grab a handful of cash from his passenger seat and throw it out the window. She also saw multiple cars pull off to the shoulder of the road in what she assumed was an effort to pick up the ejected money.

The man’s previous DUI arrests were drug, not alcohol related, the Tribune article stated, although he was convicted in 2010 for transporting open alcohol containers after police found three empty beer cans in his car. The man had been a practicing dentist in Naperville, Illinois, but had quit around a year ago because he said he was losing money. On July 28 of this year, his mortgage company filed foreclosure documents on his Naperville, Illinois home.

No matter how many precautions you may take while driving, there are always factors beyond your control that can cause serious injury or death, such as the wrong way motorist in this accident.

It has not been reported if a Chicago injury lawyer is involved in this case yet or if a civil lawsuit has been filed.

August 18, 2011

Illinois personal injury lawyer settles auto accident case for insurance policy limits

Chicago car crash attorneys have reached a settlement on behalf of a Cook County resident that was injured by an inattentive driver who rear-ended him as he was preparing to turn into a shopping mall parking lot. The victim suffered injuries to his neck and back.

On September 24, 2009, our client was traveling southbound on 25th Avenue in Bellwood, Illinois when he turned his right turn signal on and began to slow down to an appropriate turning speed. Before he could attempt the turn, a 1994 Chevy Lumina failed to yield to the victim and rear-ended his 2006 Honda Ridgeline. The Bellwood Police Department responded to the scene and after a brief investigation, they placed the driver of the Honda at fault.

Immediately following the collision, the victim had an onset of back and neck pain that required him to be taken to Loyola University Medical Center by ambulance. The hospital performed a series of diagnostic tests and initially diagnosed him with a cervical strain and thoracic spine pain. He was placed in an aspen collar, prescribed pain medication, and instructed to seek follow up treatment with an orthopaedic doctor.

Six days after the accident occurred, ongoing and worsening pain in the victim’s neck, right arm, and left arm necessitated a trip back to the hospital emergency room. After more tests, doctors found that he had tenderness in the paraspinal musculature and instructed him to begin physical therapy and seek further treatment if necessary.

After an examination by an orthopedic physician in October, the doctor ordered an MRI as he believed the plaintiff may have sustained a herniated disc in the accident. The MRI results showed plaintiff sustained a disc bulge with at C3-4 level, peripheral right sided neural foraminal encroachment and impression upon the thecal sac, a right sided posterolateral disc herniation at the C4-5 level, encroachment of the exiting nerve root zone, and proximal right neural foramen, and a disc bulge at the C7-T1 level and peripheral neural foraminal encroachment bilaterally.

The doctor recommended that he receive a cervical spine epidural injection if his radicular symptoms continued. Our client completed fifteen sessions of physical therapy, but the pain of the injury continued, limiting his ability to conduct daily life activities.

Illinois injury attorneys at our office obtained the defendant's $20,000 insurance policy limits. The case against the at fault driver resolved without having to commit to a time-consuming and expensive lawsuit. That being said, attorneys at our office believe the value of his injuries are greater than $20,000, so we are now pursuing an underinsured motorist claim against the plaintiffs own auto insurance carrier to recover an additional amount.

You may be entitled to compensation for your auto accident injuries if they were caused by the fault of another. Contact the lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free, no obligation case evaluation and see what your options are. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

August 16, 2011

Two Children Injured in a Three-Car Accident in Illinois

A recent three-car accident in Illinois seriously injured two children. The traffic accident took place at Illinois 15 and 74th Street. According to Police Capt. Don Sax, an 11-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy were transported to a St. Louis hospital and both were listed in serious condition, according to Belleville Daily News.
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The accident happened when the driver of a van slammed into the back of the vehicle that the child passengers were in as the light changed to green and the family's vehicle started to pass through the intersection. Officials did not see any skid marks left from either of the vehicles, which indicates that the mini wan was traveling at full-speed, or at about 55 mph. The family's vehicle was pushed into an SUV that was in front of them.

We can expect to see an increased number of car accidents on our roadways throughout the rest of the month as August has been repeatedly proven to be the deadliest month on all U.S. roadways. According to MSN Money, more accidents have occurred in the month of August than during any other month since 1994. Our Chicago auto accident attorneys understand that one of the top contributors to this trend is the increase in traffic during August. This is one of the busiest months on our roadways and many residents are out taking summer trips, running errands and venturing out on vacations.

More specifically, August has a death rate of 1.09 per 100 million miles traveled. The second deadliest month is September with a death rate of 1.08. The safest month to be on our roadways is March as it has a death rate of 0.94.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was an average of 93 people killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. every day in 2009. That equals one traffic fatality every 16 minutes. Through extensive research, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has concluded that 7 of the deadliest 25 days occur in the month of August.

Residents typically have more time for travel in August. For the same reason, we experience more traffic-accident fatalities on weekends rather than on weekdays. Weekends are also a time when we witness more drunk driving.

Saturdays are the deadliest of the weekend days. In 2009, Saturdays averaged about 123 deaths a day. Sundays averaged about 107 deaths a day, followed by 103 deaths on Fridays.

Here are the week's remaining average daily roadway fatalities for 2009:

-Mondays: 79 deaths.

-Wednesdays: 78 deaths.

-Thursdays: deaths 84.

"A large proportion of crashes happen in late afternoon and early evening in general, but especially in August," says Russ Rader, a spokesman for the institute. That's when the roads fill up both with commuters and vacationers.

The Institute reports that more than 33,800 people were killed in traffic accidents on U.S. roads in 2009:

-Those ages 13 to 15 accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities.

-16 to 19: 9 percent.

-20 to 34: 31 percent.

-35 to 49, 23 percent.

-50 to 69, 22 percent.

-70 and up, 12 percent.

Continue reading "Two Children Injured in a Three-Car Accident in Illinois" »

August 14, 2011

New Technology Aims to Curb Driver Distractions and Prevent Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere

Connected cars could soon be flooding our roadways in an attempt to reduce the risks of Chicago car accidents. But wait! Safe driving advocates are worried that the technology within the new smart cars will require complex interactions between multiple software and service providers, according to Forbes. As drivers purchase vehicles in the coming years, they will be directed to configure their vehicle via the Internet. This configuration will offer the vehicle a number of enhancements and alterations, including desktop and mobile Web portals and smartphone apps. Through this update, drivers would integrate their smartphone with their vehicle system and will be provided with a safety-focused link for driver services.
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This system comes with some expected complications as services become more complex. Safe driving advocates cite the range of entertainment and information services that can be accessed through the smartphone as potential driver distractions. It's no surprise that drivers are already engaging in these activities as these devices have become expressions of our digital selves. They have the ability to capture and communicate our trips and travels and the success of this technology is reflected in the rate of accidents caused by distracted driving.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that many motorists anticipate the new technology; it can be used to reduce unwanted service trips and increase gas mileage. These smart cars will also come with additional safety services, such as crash notification and roadside assistance. But all these features serve as potential distractions to drivers.

While self-driving vehicles aren't in our immediate future, they sure are on their way. Some believe that this emerging vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology could be the key to preventing accidents.

That form of technology uses wireless communication between vehicles, traffic signals, speed detection radar and smartphones to detect when other vehicles are dangerously close and may cause a serious accident. When the technology senses these dangers, it warns drivers so that they're able to avoid the collision. The vehicle can even activate brakes automatically if the driver fails to respond.

"I just don't think the America public is ready for a driverless car," says National Highway Traffic Safety Association Administrator David Strickland. "I've ridden in Google's car and it is fantastic, but it is not foolproof."

To get the technology to our roadways as quickly as possible, the U.S. Department of Transportation is conducting extensive research on the systems. They estimate that the technology could prevent up to 80 percent of potential accidents.

"We are extremely encouraged by the research, analysis of the safety data, and the ongoing work that all point to vehicle-to-vehicle as the next major safety breakthrough," said Strickland.

Until driverless vehicles become the norm, drivers will no doubt welcome the new smartphone features. When the car is in park, the vehicle will enable full smartphone access. During this time, a driver can interact with apps and cloud services via vehicle resources, including a smart display screen and knobs. Upon moving, the vehicle will turn off screen images that cause distraction. It will take it even one step further though, by shutting down all touch controls and requiring voice commands while in the vehicle is in motion.

While manufacturers continue to push new technology for safer roadways, we must remember that there is nothing safer than alert and focused driving habits as computer systems and other technological advancements are not free from malfunctions. Keep your eyes and ears on the road and curb potential distractions to help avoid a fatal car accident.

Continue reading "New Technology Aims to Curb Driver Distractions and Prevent Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere" »