Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

January 15, 2010

Unlicensed drivers responsible for 1 in 6 fatal Illinois car accidents

An average of 6,934 fatal crashes each year involve an unlicensed driver over the age of 16, according to research released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Chicago car accident attorneys and the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes frequently post about fatal Chicago car accidents, both here at Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog and on our sister site, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog.

The fact is, unlicensed drivers frequently have poor driving records and carry little or no insurance. A Chicago car accident with an uninsured motorist can require a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer to help you and your family protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.

In Illinois, 202 fatal crashes involved an unlicensed driver in 2007, according to NHTSA data --11th highest of all 50 states. The 10-year average pins 1 of every 6 fatal Illinois car accidents on an unlicensed driver.

And fatal accidents caused by unlicensed drivers are on the rise, from 11 percent a decade ago to 14 percent last year. Men were almost twice as likely to be involved in an unlicensed fatal crash as were women.

Unlicensed young adult drivers, ages 21 to 40, averaged 4,179 fatalities per year, or more than half of all fatal crashes involving unlicensed drivers.

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January 13, 2010

One killed, two injured in Chicago car accident

A Chicago car accident in the South Side's Hamilton Park neighborhood has claimed the life of one man and critically injured two others, according to WBBM News.

Emergency crews found one man dead and two others injured after responding to the crash shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday. The pin-in crash occurred at South Vincennes Avenue and West 73rd Street.

The 49-year-old Spaulding Avenue man was pronounced dead at 9:32 p.m. at Saint Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center. The Cook County medical examiner's office reported he was the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the Chicago car accident.

The victim was driving a 1995 Oldsmobile at the time of the crash. His passenger, a 30-year-old man, was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition. The 41-year-old man driving the other car, a 1993 Chevy Cavalier, was also transported to the hospital in critical condition.

No citations were issued as the police Major Accident Investigation Unit continues to investigate.

There have been 16 fatal car accidents in Illinois so far in 2010, compared to 22 during the same period last year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

As reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog, many accidents are being blamed on the stormy wither weather in the Chicago area as well as elsewhere in Illinois and throughout the Midwest.

January 11, 2010

Busy roads pose danger of Chicago car accidents for winter travelers

Winter travel is expected to be its busiest in at least three years in Illinois and across the country.

The Chicago car accident attorneys and Chicago injury lawyers at Abels & Annes wish everyone a joyous and happy holiday season. Visit our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog for tips on Safe Winter Driving , avoiding Chicago car accidents during dark winter commutes, the dangers of drunk driving, and teen driving safety.

Most of all, stay safe and enjoy time with friends and family.

The AAA Chicago Motor Club is reporting that Illinois will see an increase of more than 10 percent in the number of people traveling 50 miles or more from home this year, CBS2 reported.

AAA is projecting 87.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the year-end holidays -- a 3.8 percent increase from the 84.5 million who traveled over the Christmas/New Year's period a year ago.

MSNBC noted that is 3.2 million, or 3.8 percent, more than traveled over the same period a year ago.

"More Americans traveling during the winter holidays is another sign consumers are continuing to grow more confident in their personal financial situations," said Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago regional president. "The moderate projected rise in the number of air travelers is especially welcome since the airline industry was hit especially hard by the recession."

This winter, travelers will be paying nearly $1 more per gallon for gasoline than they did last year. The current nationwide average for self-serve regular is $2.59.

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January 9, 2010

First winter storm a dangerous time for Chicago car accidents

Snowfall, icy roads and winter weather are contributing to Chicago car accidents as we head into the weekend.

With snow continuing to fall in the Chicago area on Thursday, the Illinois State Police put an emergency snow plan into effect -- telling drivers who had accidents not to call 911 unless there were injuries.

The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes encourage everyone to drive safely and allow plenty of time. Safe winter driving tips can be found here on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog and our sister site, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog.

About 8 to 12 inches of snow was expected in the area, ABC News reported.

In Chicago, the Department of Streets and Sanitation already announced Wednesday that the Snow Command Center will use ground sensors and closely watch nearly 1,000 cameras positioned throughout the city. Drivers are also advised to pay close attention to winter parking restrictions to avoid getting towed, ABC7 News reported.

Up to a foot of snow is expected in the Chicago area and as many as 500 flights could be cancelled, according to The Sun-Times.

Elsewhere in Illinois, a suburban teenager died in an Illinois car accident Thursday morning on Interstate 57 that is being blamed on icy roads and winter weather, WJBD radio reported.

The Marion County coroner said the 17-year-old Aurora teen was a passenger in an SUV that slammed into the rear end of a slow moving semi in the southbound lanes of I-57, about a mile south of the Salem exit.

The Illinois semi accidentoccurred just before 8 a.m. Thursday morning. The victim's mother, father and younger sister were being transported to St. Louis University Hospital.

The fire department reported that three of the passengers had to be cut from the vehicle.

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January 7, 2010

Authorities investigate series of Holiday Chicago pedestrian accidents

A 13-year-old girl died over the weekend after getting hit by a van on New Year's Eve as she tried to pick up a cell phone in the roadway, according to the Chicago Breaking News Center.

The teen was pronounced dead shortly after 12:30 a.m. at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge as a result of the Chicago pedestrian accident, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The girl and a friend were returning home from a shopping center and attempting to cross U.S. Route 12 at Pheasant Ridge Road shortly before 6:30 p.m. Thursday when the victim was struck by a 2006 Dodge van driven by a 60-year-old Barrington man.

Lake County officials are investigating.

Family and friends fathered to bury a Rogers Park mother, after she was killed during a Christmas-week hit-and-run Chicago pedestrian accident, the News Center reported.

The woman was remembered at a church across the street from where she was fatally struck by a car Dec. 21 while walking with her six-year-old son, who was also hit. The driver was reportedly fleeing police at 70 to 80 mph and did not slow down or stop after striking the mother and her child.

The driver, who police report had cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana in his system, was ordered held without bail on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

A Chicago train accident delayed the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line on New Year's Day after a person fell onto the tracks at the Lawrence Avenue station, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The victim was transported to Weiss Memorial Hospital in "stable" condition after falling off the station platform shortly after 5:15 p.m., according to the Chicago Fire Department.

The day after Christmas, an 8-year-old boy was struck by a white Ford F-150 while crossing in the 5400 block of South Kostner Avenue in the West Elsdon car accident.

The truck did not stopped and turned westbound on 55th Street after the accident, according to the News Center.

The truck, possibly a 1995 to 1997, had an extended two-door cab with no rear cap and a temporary license plate with the letter "M" in the middle. Anyone with information about the driver or the vehicle should contact the Chicago Police Department Major Accident Investigation Unit at (312) 745-4521.

January 5, 2010

Woman killed in Chicago car accident with off-duty police officer

A 65-year-old woman died Saturday night after being involved in a Chicago car accident with an off-duty police officer, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The woman's Kia Rio went through a stop sign at 112th Street and Kedzie Avenue shortly after 2 p.m., where it was struck by a Dodge Durango driven by an off-duty Chicago police sergeant who was southbound on Kedzie, according to authorities.

The Mount Greenwood car accident resulted in the victim being extricated from her vehicle, according to the Southtown Star. The South Sawyer Avenue woman was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m., the Cook County medical examiner's office reported.

The police sergeant, who lives in the area, suffered a leg injury and was treated at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park. Her name was not released.

A neighbor, who is also a Chicago police detective, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the intersection was dangerous and speeding on Kedzie, where the speed limit is posted at 30 mph, often contributes to accidents.

He said numerous car accidents have occurred at the intersection and Chicago pedestrian accidents result from people trying to run across the road.

January 2, 2010

New Year brings new laws to combat Illinois car accidents caused by distracted driving


The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Secretary of State and Illinois State Police are reminding motorists of new Illinois traffic laws that take effect Jan. 1 and are aimed at reducing Illinois car accidents.

In August, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed two new laws. The laws make it illegal for motorists to send text messages while driving in Illinois and make it illegal to talk on a cell phone while traveling through a school zone or highway construction zone. The laws also make it illegal to compose, send or read text messages, instant messages and e-mail on a cell phone or surf the internet while driving. The law does not include GPS or navigation systems but does include personal digital assistants and portable or mobile computers.

“When motorists text and drive, they are putting themselves and others in serious danger,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “We are pleased to be among the 19 states that have outlawed texting and driving and we are confident it will lead to fewer crashes and fatalities in Illinois.”

The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes have followed the issue throughout the year, noting recently a New York Times story that pointed out the "car phone" literally made its debut at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Cell phone companies have quit marketing the devices as "car phones" over the years amid evidence of deaths caused by distracted driving, particularly with the advent of text messaging.

Drivers have already been forbidden from using cell phones within the City of Chicago since 2005; but the news laws are expected to bring a new round of enforcement aimed at reducing distracted driving deaths in Illinois.

“With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious
problem in our state and in the nation,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “These new laws are important and will make our roads safer. No driver has any business text messaging while they are driving. Additionally, school zones and construction zones require drivers to slow down and pay special attention to their surroundings and, as a result, they should not be using a cell phone.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driver distraction from all sources contributes to 25 percent of all police-reported traffic crashes.

“Every time a driver takes their eyes or their focus off the road - even for just a few seconds - they put their lives and the lives of others in danger,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Regional Administrator Michael Witter. “Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible and its consequences can be devastating.”

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December 31, 2009

Chicago drunk driving car accidents a concern through New Year's holiday

Authorities in Illinois and across the country will be out in force to prevent fatal drunk driving accidents over the New Year's holiday.

Each year in Illinois, an average of more than 50,000 people are arrested for drunk driving and 3 in 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol related traffic crash in their lifetime, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

As the Chicago car accident lawyers and Illinois accident attorneys at Abels & Annes reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog, Illinois is the eighth-deadliest for fatal drunk driving accidents.

Last year in Illinois, 1,043 people killed in traffic accidents; one in three (362) were legally drunk and one in four (252) had a blood alcohol level of almost twice the legal limit (.15) or higher.

-Each year, about 310,000 people suffer injuries in alcohol-related traffic crashes nationwide, an average of one person injured every 2 minutes.

-Fatal drunk driving accidents in Illinois are three times more likely to occur at night than during the day.

- Teenagers and young adults are at increased risk of an Illinois drunk driving accident. Although 16-24 year olds comprise only 15.52 percent of the licensed drivers in the state, they are involved in 38.85 percent of all fatal alcohol-related crashes.

-Nearly one-third of fatally injured teenage drivers (age 16-19) were drinking prior to their crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pushing a nationwide crackdown aimed at drunk drivers through the New Year's holiday.

Authorities in Illinois will also be conducting sobriety checkpoints through the state, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is encouraging motorists to drink responsibly through its Tie One on for Safety and Designate a Safe Ride Home campaigns.

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December 28, 2009

Illinois trucking accident lawyers monitor increased speed limit, pending legislation

A new law beginning Jan. 1 will allow Illinois semis to travel 65 mph on many state highways, leaving opponents of higher speeds concerned about the increased risk of Illinois trucking accidents.

Earlier this fall the Chicago trucking accident lawyers at Abels & Annes reported the state ranks sixth-highest in the nation for fatal semi accidents.

The faster trucks comes as the federal government is phasing in better braking standards for semis amid consideration of a reduction in rest requirements for truck drivers. Trucks are heavily regulated because of the danger posed to much smaller passenger vehicles in an accident.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reported that 14,362 Illinois semi accidents killed 115 people last year and injured about 3,000. Of the 115 killed, five were truck drivers and the rest were victims in passenger vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists.

Last year, some 380,000 large trucks were involved in traffic accidents that killed 4,229 motorists. Another 90,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

ABC7 reported that the law will affect about 1,800 miles of road in the state. Lawmakers have passed the speed limit increase on three previous occasions but those efforts were vetoed by Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Abels & Annes blogged about the new law this summer on Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog. The law will not impact highways in the immediate Chicago area. Supporters of the measure argue it is safer for trucks to be traveling with the flow of traffic at the same speed as everyone else; opponents contend faster-moving rigs could increase the risk of Illinois semi accidents.

The issue has made news as far away as Evansville, where NBC14 reported the Illinois Department of Transportation is in the process of replacing signs at a cost of about $75,000 to display the new speed limit, which will also apply to campers and those hauling trailers.

This summer, Ohio changed its law to 65, reported. Previously, large commercial vehicles had been restricted to 55mph in that state as well.

Nine states -- Arkansas, California, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Washington -- still retain lower speed limits for large trucks, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Texas and Utah allow semis to travel as fast as 80 mph.

Meanwhile, the federal government is looking at a measure that would reduce by an hour the amount of rest truckers are required to have between shifts-- from the current 11 hours to 10 hours.

And in July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued new braking requirements, which the federal government estimates will save more than 200 lives a year and reduce property damage by more than $169 million a year.

The new standard requires that a tractor-trailer traveling at 60 miles per hour come to a complete stop in 250 feet. The old standard required a complete stop within 355 feet.

The new regulation will be phased in over four years beginning with 2012 models.

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December 25, 2009

Illinois eighth-deadliest state for drunk driving accidents as authorities launch nationwide holiday crackdown

A nationwide Intensive Holiday Drunk & Impaired Driving Crackdown & Advertising Blitz has been announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes noted on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is also increasing enforcement and awareness efforts for the holidays.

In 2007, nearly 1,500 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In Illinois, of the 1,043 people killed in traffic accidents in 2008, one in three (362) were legally drunk and one in four (252) had a blood alcohol level of almost twice the legal limit (.15) or higher, as Abels & Annes reported in an earlier blog.

That is a a 17 percent reduction from the 439 Illinois fatalities involving drunk drivers in 2007. The reduction puts Illinois in the middle of the pack -- tied for 20th when comparing the drunk-driving fatality rate in all 50 states.

Still, Illinois' 362 fatal drunk driving accidents was eighth highest in the nation after Texas (1,269), California (1,029), Florida (875), Pennsylvania (496), North Carolina (423), Georgia (416) and South Carolina (403).

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, have launched "Over the Limit. Under Arrest" a national drunk and impaired driving crackdown involving thousands of law enforcement agencies during the holiday season.
75579_drunk_driving.jpg“Drunk driving is a major public safety threat that still claims thousands of lives every year,” Secretary LaHood said. “Many states continue to step up their efforts to get drunk drivers off our roads, but the numbers tell us we have to do more. Drinking and driving is dangerous and unacceptable, and I’m asking law enforcement to stay vigilant during this busy holiday season.”

Five states have shown great reductions in alcohol-impaired driving fatality rates from 2007 to 2008. Those include Vermont, Wisconsin, Maine, Nebraska and Minnesota. The states with the least progress are Idaho, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Kansas and New Hampshire, according to government statistics.

Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is illegal in all 50 states. But the focus will also be on drugged driving.

“Like alcohol, drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills and memory. These effects can be dangerously magnified when drugs are consumed with alcohol, even in cases where a driver's blood alcohol level is below legal limits,” said Director Kerlikowske. “Driving while impaired, from alcohol, drugs, or both, puts us all at risk and must be prevented.”

The campaign also reminds motorists that government research has consistently shown that more people are killed in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver on the weekends and at night. In September, Abels & Annes also reported Illinois officials are concerned about the prevalence of weekend nighttime accidents.

In 2008 alone, 58 percent of drivers and motorcycle riders were killed in crashes that took place over the weekend and at night were alcohol-impaired.

“My message to drivers is this: if you decide to drink, find a safe and sober ride home or your chances of arrest are extremely high,” said Secretary LaHood. “Law enforcement officers will be out in full force during the upcoming holiday, especially at night and on the weekends, looking for the drunk drivers that put the rest of us at risk.”

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