Articles Posted in Injuries to Minors & Children

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.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.
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Two teenagers were killed and three other occupants injured in a tragic Western Illinois car accident when their attempt at “hill hopping,” or driving over a hill at high speeds to get airborne, ended with their car rolling multiple times and striking a tree. According to, the crash occurred just outside Carthage, Illinois in the 1600 block of North Hancock County Road. The 18 year-old driver lost control of her vehicle as it landed and she was killed along with a 16 year-old passenger.

Locals say the area, known as “Butterfly hills,” is a popular destination for teens looking for thrills, and hill hopping at the location is a common occurrence. Teens often set out for the specific reason to drive over the hill at speeds of 90-100 miles per hour. Police said this was not the first crash at the hill.

“I would have died too,” said a friend of the victims, “it’s not easy to know your friends died doing something that everybody has done.”

Police said there were no drugs or alcohol involved in the crash, and both victims were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident.

While these types of accidents aren’t common, there are incidents throughout the country of teens being killed or severely injured after unsuccessful hill hopping attempts. The Chicago Tribune reported a similar incident that occurred in Long Grove, Illinois in 2004 when two teens decided to go hill hopping on a rural stretch of road. The car was traveling 90 m.p.h. when it hit the crest of the hill and sent the automobile careening out of control until it was stopped by a tree. The driver was ejected from the vehicle and survived, but his best friend was killed in the wreck.

The driver, who later pled guilty to reckless homicide, now gives speeches to teens about the dangers of reckless joy-riding. He explains how the invincibility that teens often feel is an illusion, and how by the time he realized this, he had to live with the guilt of killing his best friend.

Another similar incident happened just last year in Ohio when three teens between 15 and 16 years-old were severely injured after their car lost control and overturned during a hill hopping incident described as “horrific.” None of the occupants were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, and two of the occupants were ejected from the car.

Like the incident outside of Carthage, the crash occurred at a spot frequented by local teens looking to have fun. In fact, a 16 year-old was killed in a hill hopping attempt seven years prior at the same Ohio location. The victim died after crashing into a tree, the same tree the latest victims grazed as they lost control of their vehicle, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Unfortunately, this is not trend likely to go away anytime soon and it has been going on for a long time. I recently discussed this accident with a 40-year-old attorney who said that when he was a teenager back in the 1980s, he could recall hill hopping on several occasions with his friends.

Click here to read the story as reported by The Daily Gate City.

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Itasca, Illinois based National Safety Council is promoting June 12-18 as Teen Driver Safety Week.

As our Chicago auto accident lawyers recently reported on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog Mothers Against Drunk Driving has deemed summer the “100 Deadliest Days for Teen Car Accidents.”We began the month by reporting the National Safety Council would spend June focusing on preventable injuries. Other topics include summer safety and swimming pool drownings in Illinois, issues involving slip and fall prevention, and driver cell phone use.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that teen car accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for those ages 15 to 20. Your teen is most likely to be killed in a summer car accident. For new drivers, the first year and first 1,000 miles of driving puts them at a lifetime high for being involved in a crash.

A family Guide to Teen Driving Safety will be available for free download from June 12-18.

Alive at 25 Parent online training will be available for free open enrollment from June 12-18.

How can I keep my Teen Driver Safe is a free webinar being offered on June 13.

Top Causes of Teen Driving Accidents include:

-Drunk Driving
-Distracted Driving
-Failure to Wear Seat Belts
-Night Driving
-Riding with too Many Passengers
-Overestimating abilities
In an effort to spread the word about teen driving safety to young drivers and others, the Illinois Department of Transportation will also be promoting traffic safety at Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway. Race fans will be encouraged to sign safe driving pledges at races on June 4, July 7-10 and the Sept. 16-18 race weekend.

“We are pleased to join forces once again with racing fans at Chicagoland Speedway to promote traffic safety and positively impact millions more race fans in Illinois and across the nation,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “By promoting programs that increase safety belt usage and prevent impaired driving, NASCAR and Chicagoland Speedway events promise to remain a safe and enjoyable time for everyone. We hope to see many more fans commit to traffic safety this year.”
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An Illinois school bus crash that occurred Thursday morning on the South side of Chicago resulted in nine people being injured, and several hurt were special education students, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. All of the injured were taken to area hospitals after two school buses and a truck were involved in a traffic collision.

The three vehicle accident took place around 7 AM in the area of Ashland Avenue and 76th Street. Chicago Fire Department ambulances took five of the injured to Holy Cross Hospital, 2 to St. Bernard Hospital and 2 to Little Company of Mary Hospital. There were reportedly no life-threatening injuries, and all were in good to fair condition.

The two school buses involved were from two different companies contracted by the Chicago Board of Education. What caused the accident has not been reported.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this week it is delaying a mandate that all new vehicles be equipped with backup cameras, which had been aimed at reducing Chicago parking lot accidents and accidents involving vehicles backing over victims in driveways.

Chicago personal injury attorneys understand the tragic consequences of such accidents, which frequently occur around the holidays and often involve a relative who strikes a small child or a child or older adult who is run down in a busy parking lot.As we reported in December on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, the government had been set to require some new vehicles be equipped with the cameras next year, with the goal of having the cameras installed in all new vehicles by 2014.

In a carefully worded statement the NHTSA said it will now seek to have a permanent rule by the end of this year, following a public hearing on the issue, at which it apparently got an ear full from the auto industry. Automotive World reports the new rule will be postponed after the NHTSA indicated it needs more time for analysis and comments.

“Every year, nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 more are injured when someone, often a parent or grandparent, backs over them,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “To put an end to these tragedies, we have proposed a new safety rule and are seeking further public feedback.”

The goal of last week’s hearing was to permit industry groups and other interested parties a chance to comment.

“Safety is our top priority and the steps we are proposing, with the public’s help and input, will reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said.

U.S. News & World Report referenced a study that indicates the new rule could cost the industry about $2.7 billion a year.
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An auto accident in the north suburbs of Chicago has resulted in the death of a high school student, according to the Chicago Breaking News Center. The teen victim was riding as a passenger when the vehicle he was riding in lost control on a curve and ran into a tree.

The deadly Illinois accident took place early Thursday morning in Arlington Heights around 12:40 AM when a Hyundai moving south 400 block of S. Windsor Dr. lost control and left the road. The vehicle was only moving slightly above the 25 mph speed limit, but police say the street was wet from a recent snow.

The Arlington Heights Police Department responded to the scene of the accident, and they reportedly had to cut off the roof of the vehicle in their attempt to rescue the passenger. The16-year-old was transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The news story does not report when the teenager passed away.

An Illinois pedestrian collision has resulted in the death of a three-year-old boy in Bridgeview on Tuesday afternoon, according to WGN news. The deadly incident occurred when a family member backing out of the driveway rolled over him.

The collision took place in the 8100 block of S. Odell Avenue around 12:45 PM. The child was taken by ambulance to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and pronounced dead a short time later. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

The Bridgeview Police Department is handling the investigation, and they have reportedly brought in an outside accident reconstruction team to assist them. Police are saying that it is doubtful that charges will be brought against the driver.

Children should remain in car seats for twice as long — until the ages of 2 instead of 1 — according to new recommendations issued this week by the federal government. MSNBC reports children younger than 13 should ride in the back and those as old as 12 should ride in booster seats.

“Parents often look forward to transitioning from one stage to the next, but these transitions should generally be delayed until they’re necessary, when the child fully outgrows the limits for his or her current stage,” said Dennis Durbin, MD, FAAP.Our Chicago car accident lawyers urge parents to take the new, updated recommendations seriously. The Beacon-News reports that children should now remain in rear-facing car seats until they’re 2-years-old, or until they’ve reached the maximum height and weight requirements of the seat’s manufacturer. Previously, the recommendations were for children under a year old.

Once a child has reached the age of 2, or has outgrown their current seat, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends a booster seat until a child is 8-years-old or reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches, whichever comes later. The government recommends children stay in the backseat until they’re 12, according to the report in the Los Angeles Times.

The new car seat regulations come after new research found that children are actually safer in rear-facing car seats. The research, conducted by Injury Prevention, found that children under the age of 2, who are seated in rear-facing car seats during a car accident, are 75 perfect less likely to die or suffer a severe injury.

We frequently report that Chicago car accidents are a leading cause of serious and fatal injuries to children over the age of 3. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 34 children under the age of 14 died in Illinois car accidents in 2009 — 19 of those were under the age of 7.

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 184,000 children were severely injured in car accidents last year — more than 1,300 died.

“Parents are always looking for the next stage of development because in every other scenario, that’s a good thing. With car safety seats, however, that’s often not the case,” said Ben Hoffman, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

An instructional pamphlet about car seat recommendations for children is available for you from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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The U.S. Department of Transportation is teaming up with Consumer Reports to warn parents and teenagers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers urge parents to have a serious talk with their teens as spring approaches. With spring break, prom and graduation, teens will have plenty of chances to be out late on the road and may face peer pressure when it comes to underage drinking, drinking and driving and drug consumption.In short, the next few months are among the most dangerous when it comes to the risk of Chicago car accidents involving teenagers.

“Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads, and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Behind the statistics are real families who have been devastated by these tragedies. We’re pleased to be working with Consumer Reports to raise awareness and help communities fight this problem.”

A free guide of “Distracted Driving Shatters Lives” is being made available at the Department of Transportation’s website as well as the website for Consumer Reports. The National School Safety Coalition is also distributing copies to schools and volunteer groups.

A public service announcement is set to begin airing on television nationwide and a Consumer Reports video will air in retail stores in April.

“It only takes a moment of distraction to cause a tragedy. No text or call is worth a life,” said Jim Guest, the president of Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports. “We know that educating people about the risk of distracted driving works. This partnership is devoted to spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving and specific steps you can take to make a difference.”

A new survey by Consumer Reports highlights the dangers faced by young drivers:

-Two thirds of those under the age of 30 reported using a hand-held phone while driving at some point during the last month; one-third of them admitted to text messaging.

-Only about one-third of those under the age of 30 said they were very concerned about distracted driving. About the same number felt it was dangerous to use a hand-held phone while behind the wheel.

-Two-thirds reported seeing another driver texting using a hand-held phone within the last month.

-Nearly all young drivers had seen another driver talking on the phone in the past month and more than half had seen a dangerous situation related to distracted driving.

-Four out of five said they had reduced or stopped distracted-driving behavior. Two-thirds said they did so after hearing about the dangers.

Parents can assist teens in making good driving decisions by:

-Establishing ground rules forbidding texting or the use of cell phones while driving.

-Talking about the dangers with family and friends.

-Setting a good example by not using a phone while driving.

-Talking to teens about the risks and responsibilities of driving.

-Having your child sign a pledge not to use a cell phone while driving and agreeing on the penalties for violating the pledge.
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The Ford Motor Company is investing another $1 million in the fight to prevent teen car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere, the Governors Highway Safety Association reports.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers frequently report that Illinois is at the forefront of the teen-driving issue. By utilizing a Graduated Driver’s License system and other tools, the number of teens involved in serious and fatal accidents continues to decline.Still, teenagers are at highest risk of being involved in a serious or fatal accident. More than 5,000 are killed each year in crashes and 40,000 motorists are injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers.

Now Ford has announced a major expansion of the program that began in Chicago. The Ford Driving Skills for Life program will receive an additional $1 million and be available to teens in 15 states. The award-winning program provides interactive tools and hands-on training to teach teens about the importance of making good driving decisions behind the wheel.

“Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes in young drivers, and this program delivers the key skill sets that will increase their knowledge, confidence and, ultimately, their safety,” said Ford Executive Sue Cischke. “Ford is passionate about helping young drivers learn the rules of the road, better manage distractions behind the wheel and help make America’s roads safer for all of us.”

This year the program will be expanded to high schools in Birmingham, Little Rock, Harford, Orlando, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Shreveport, Portland, Boston, Jackson (Miss.), Manchester, Albany, Raleigh/Durham, Providence, Charleston and Burlington.

The Ford program concentrates on driving skills in four areas, including distracted driving, speed and space management, hazard recognition and vehicle handling. Research shows those four areas are involved in more than 60 percent of all car accidents involving teenagers.

“This new commitment will bring Ford DSFL into many more communities. State highway safety offices will be able to use this program to complement ongoing laws and programs,” said GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr. “While teen driving safety is a key priority, too often our communities lack the resources to conduct these types of hands-on, high-tech trainings. We are grateful to Ford for helping fill these critical gaps.”
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