Abels & Annes

Articles Posted in Auto Accidents at Work

The federal government announced a final rule to outlaw drivers of trucks and buses from using hand-held cell phones at the wheel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). This was the most current attempt to curb distracted driving and to reduce the risks of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere. Commercial drivers are already prohibited from texting at the wheel.
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“I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

As we recently reported on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, officials are at it again. Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made a recommendation for all 50 states to outlaw the use of all electronic devices by all drivers. Support for this type of law is split. Some support the measure in saying that our roadways are far too dangerous with the number of distracted drivers and a law needs to be enacted to help regulate the dangerous behavior. Others say that this type of blanket ban is overpowering and is restricting the right of motorists as residents of the United States.

Under the law for the truckers and bus drivers, if they’re busted driving while using a hand-held cell phone they can face fines of nearly $3,000. A driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) could be suspended after two traffic violations. In addition to penalizing these drivers, the companies that employ these truckers can face an $11,000 fine. This final rule affects roughly four million drivers working in the industry.

As we recently reported, the NTSB is urging all lawmakers to prohibit the use of all devices for drivers, except devices that aid road safety and for emergency use. The NTSB doesn’t have the authority to enact any laws, but its recent recommendations have been proven to pull significant weight with federal authorities.

In Illinois, school bus drivers and those who are under the age of 18 are banned from using a hand-held cell phone at the wheel. Drivers within the City of Chicago are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. All drivers in the state are banned from texting while driving. All of the laws could soon be wiped out and a full-out ban could be enacted if the NTSB’s recommendation is adopted by federal and state lawmakers.

As we head into the holiday season, traffic is expected to increase significantly as vacationers from around the country head out to their favorite holiday vacation destinations. The National Safety Council is predicting that the New Year’s and the Christmas holiday will see nearly 600 roadway fatalities. Many of these fatalities can be avoided if drivers exercise safe and responsible driving habits. Please be safe on our roadways through the rest of the holiday season!
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It’s Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) and driving on the job as well as getting to and from work safely is everybody’s business.

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation to help reduce the risks of on-the-job injuries resulting from distracted driving car accidents in Illinois and elsewhere. This year’s campaign slogan is “Focus 360.” With work-related motor-vehicle accidents up this year in Illinois, employees across the state are asked to join in.
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Our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys ask that everyone get involved in this week-long campaign. You don’t have to be the driver to participate. Distractions can come from passengers, pedestrians and cyclists as well and we can all do our part to help prevent these accidents. While many view distractions as an unacceptable driving behavior, most of us are guilty of not keeping our full attention on the road at all times. We need to start practicing what we preach to help keep everyone safe on our roadways.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, motor-vehicle accidents accounted for about 2 out of every 5 fatal work accidents in 2010. These accidents include cars, trucks, off-road tractors, pedestrians, railways, water vehicles and aircraft.

There were more than 70 fatal work-related transportation accidents in Illinois in 2010. Transportation accidents at work accounted for more fatalities than assaults, violent acts, contact with objects and equipment, falls, fires, explosions and exposure to harmful substances or environments. Our state witnessed nearly 50 more work-related fatalities in 2010 than we did in 2009.

This event is held every October and is used to provide an opportunity for employers and companies to focus on safe driving habits and to help them to enact a cell phone policy in the workplace. Everyone needs to take this matter seriously as these accidents are in fact preventable.

Companies and employers are able to reach about half of the entire world’s population. Employers’ support in the fight against distracted driving is critical if we want to make a difference.

The campaign offers the following to employers at all stages of the effort:

-Provides materials to help employers to create a cell phone policy kit in the workplace.

-Resources to help employers enforce their current cell phone policy.

-Help employers to educate drivers about distracted driving habits even if they don’t wish to enact a policy.

According to distraction.gov, there were approximately 5,500 people who were killed in the U.S. because of car accidents that involved a distracted driver in 2009. These accidents accounted for about 20 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. About 1,000 of these deaths were the result of a driver who was distracted by a cell phone during the time of the accident. Cell phone use while driving makes a driver four times as likely to be involved in a serious traffic accident.

These accidents are preventable and with the proper participation and effort from residents, we can all do our part to help reduce the number of fatal accidents resulting from the irresponsible behavior.
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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!

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!
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Chicago has some of the worst drivers in the nation, according to Allstate Insurance.

Chicago was ranked 157th (out of 200 cities) on the safe driver list. Our area may have moved up 10 spots since last year, but ranking in the bottom quarter is no reason to celebrate. We are experiencing way too many car accidents in Chicago and a bulk of the blame is being placed on negligent drivers.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that there are a host of issues that make for dangerous driving, including distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, drowsy driving and aggressive driving. According to the study, a Chicago driver is involved in an accident every 8 years. The number of serious car accidents in our area can be greatly reduced with more aware driving efforts by motorists statewide.
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The insurance company doesn’t mean to alarm drivers with these statistics and these rankings. It releases these findings to encourage drivers to discuss and focus on safe driving habits. The company hopes that these rankings will encourage and inspire drivers to pay a little more attention behind the wheel.

“We don’t want drivers in Chicago to be discouraged by their ranking,” said the Allstate Territory Sales Leader in Illinois, Judith Dodd. “Instead, we want the report to challenge drivers in Chicago to make positive changes to their driving habits that will in turn make the city a safer place to live, work and raise families.”

Allstate has been conducting this survey for the last 7 years. The study aims to figure out the likelihood drivers in America’s biggest cities will be involved a traffic accident compared to the country average. Data from a two-year period is analyzed to ensure that outside causes, including weather and road construction do not alter the totals. For this report, a traffic accident is classified as an accident that resulted in a property damage claim. Allstate handles about 10 percent of all of the auto policies in the country. Its large representation makes this survey an accurate snapshot of driver’s abilities in the country.

Allstate compiles traffic information regarding accident frequency to determine the rankings of the 200 cities. Only accidents in which significant automobile damage was sustained is included in the tallies, not mere fender benders, according to the Huff Post.

“Human behavior is the biggest cause of accidents. It is vital for us to educate American drivers about safe driving behaviors they can demonstrate on the road that will help make our roadways safer,” said Mike Roche, executive vice president, Allstate’s Claim Organization.

A passenger vehicle is a motor vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were approximately 10,111,000 vehicles that were involved in police-reported traffic accidents in 2008 in the United States. About 94 percent of these vehicles were passenger vehicles. Nearly 80 percent of these fatalities occurred to occupants of passenger vehicles. Another 2.35 million people were injured because of these incidents.

The NHTSA reports that nearly 750 occupants of passenger vehicles died as a result of motor-vehicle accidents in Illinois in 2008.

We encourage all motorists to remain focused on the roadway, regardless of which state you may be driving in. Safe driving habits may be the most beneficial way to help reduce the risks of the being involved in a serious car accident.
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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.
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Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne was given strict orders from Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier this week to tighten up city enforcement of road laws, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. This order comes after a pedestrian accident in Chicago, allegedly caused by a city employee driving drunk.

We previously reported on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog that eight people suffered injuries after a city worker allegedly lost control of his truck in the Gold Coast community. The city worker is being accused of driving under the influence at the time of the accident.
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Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that intoxicated motorists are frequently responsible for the serious and fatal accidents that occur on our roads. It’s particularly egregious that a city employee is involved.

“One of the things I said to Commissioner Byrne was I want to know what steps need to be taken so, in the future, this does not occur again – both at the level of management and at the level of employees,” Emanuel said.

The 61-year-old city worker reportedly had a blood alcohol concentration of more than twice the legal limit. Termination proceedings have already been started by the city against that employee. The mayor wants more done though. He says firing the worker isn’t enough to suffice for these types of tragedies that affect the lives of the injured and cost the city millions.

Prosecutors report that the city worker plowed through the group of pedestrians in a city vehicle, a Ford F-150, with a bottle of brandy in his cab. The driver is being held of a $400,000 bond and is facing charges including four counts of felony aggravated DUI and two counts of misdemeanor DUI. He was also cited for negligent driving, failing to reduce speed and transporting open alcohol in a vehicle.

“You take these moments, you deal with them and there are lessons learned for future. And I’ve directed Commissioner Byrne to come back with recommendations,” said Emanuel.

Currently, city employees that hold a valid driver’s license are subject to random drug and alcohol tests. The employee that took out several pedestrians earlier this week was not a part of these random screenings. He was a worker assigned to empty garbage cans and to collect stray debris throughout the city.

“Streets and Sanitation is conducting its own internal review into all aspects of this incident, including supervision, to determine if any policies and procedures should be changed to prevent such incidents in the future,” Smith said.

Employees that have jobs similar to this city employee are only subjected to drug and alcohol tests after being involved in an accident. This worker was tested earlier this year, in March, after an on-the-job accident that resulted in property damage. His previous test came back with negative results.

“Random drug [and alcohol] testing for laborers would have to be negotiated with the union. The city cannot implement the tests unilaterally,” Smith said in an e-mail response to the Chicago Sun-Times.

All motorists are asked to both keep a watchful eye out for pedestrians and to refrain from drinking and driving. This city worker reportedly had neither in mind and in turn injured a number of innocent residents. The city reports to have upped its efforts to keep an eye on their employees to reduce the risks of such accidents in the future.
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Chicago is teaming up with more than a dozen state agencies, road builders and unions to kick off Work Zone Safety Week. These safe work zone advocates gathered in Chicago to put Scott’s Law in the spotlight to help prevent Chicago work accidents, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers urge you to abide by the rules set forth by Scott’s Law, or the Move Over Law, to protect our road workers in construction areas and our emergency responders. Penalties for violating Scott’s Law can range from $100 to $10,000 and automatic license suspension.
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Scott’s Law was enacted in 2002 after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department was killed by an intoxicated driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway. Since then, the Illinois State Police have issued nearly 19,000 citations to those who has failed to comply with the regulations, according to the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority.

“Every day, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency response personnel, and highway workers place their lives in jeopardy to protect the citizens of the state of Illinois. The most important thing we do is to ensure citizens return home safely to their families,” said Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry G. Trent. “Scott’s Law helps these workers safely perform their duties so that they, too, can return home to their families each day.”

State Transportation Gary Hanning is urging drivers to proceed through these construction areas with a heightened sense of caution this spring. He urges motorists to obey the posted speed limits and to drive distraction-free without cell phone and other hand held devices.

The Chicago Tribune reports that more than 30 people were killed in work zone crashes last year. The transportation department reports the state is launching an $11.5 billion construction plan this year, that will include work on nearly 500 miles of road and 105 bridges this summer.

“Illinois State Police Troopers will strictly enforce work zone speed limits and the ‟move over„ law which requires motorists to slow down and, if possible, change lanes when approaching police, emergency or construction vehicles displaying flashing warning lights,” Interim Director Patrick Keen said. “We will also strictly enforce Distracted Driving laws which restrict the use of a cell phone in a construction zone and texting while driving.”

In the United States, motor-vehicle accidents are the leading cause or work-related fatalities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 5,700 fatalities are reported annually, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Illinois State Police Department offers you these tips to help you get through work zones and out of the way of emergency-responder vehicles without potential injuries or fines:

-Reduce speed. Maintain a safe speed for road conditions and obey all posted speed limits. These speed limits have a tendency to change with the amount of construction and workers present so be aware of all official signs.

-Proceed with caution. Yield to the right-of-way when changing lanes.

-Remember that under Scott’s Law you are required to proceed with caution, change lanes if possible and reduce your speed in any driving scenario involving these construction workers or emergency responders.
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A Chicago area school bus accident occurred on Thursday around 5 PM when a bus drove through a brick wall into a classroom in South Suburban Orland Park. Trib Local in Orland Park is reporting that the accident occurred at Central Junior High School, part of Orland School District 135. The bus was on school grounds for a volleyball game.

The crash reportedly occurred when the accelerator pedal stuck to the floor and would not release. By Thursday night maintenance crews started work to repair the damage.

The Orland Park Police Department is investigating the accident. No injuries have been reported and no children were on the bus at the time of the incident.

Illinois car crash lawyers at Abels & Annes have reached a settlement in a lawsuit for case pending in Cook County, Illinois. The accident occurred at 6600 South Martin Luther King Dr. in Chicago.

Our client was traveling northbound on King Drive when the defendant, who was southbound, crossed the center line and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. The defendant had been traveling too fast for conditions for the road and had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting a bus, and that is why his vehicle lost control and crossed the center.

Our client was taken by ambulance to Trinity Hospital with neck and shoulder injuries. Due to ongoing neck pain he went to follow-up treatment at University of Chicago Hospitals. Our client eventually had an MRI scan that showed he sustained a bulging disc in the crash.

Four people were hurt in a Chicago car accident Sunday night when two police cruisers were injured in a police chase in the Austin neighborhood, the Sun-Times reported.

The crash occurred at about 10:15 p.m. at Central Avenue and Washington Boulevard and involved at least two police cruisers engaged in a pursuit. Two people were in serious-to-critical condition and two others were in fair-to-serious condition. The injured were taken to Mount Sinai and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

NBC Chicago reports that all four injured were police officers.