New Study Aims to Stop Car Accidents in Chicago Before They Happen

A single-vehicle car accident in Chicago left one woman dead and two others critically injured. The accident happened in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side. The vehicle left the roadways and slammed into a tree near the intersection of Midway Plaisance and South Cornell Avenue, according to My Fox Chicago.One woman was thrown 25 feet from the vehicle. She was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Two other vehicle occupants had to be extricated from the car. One was later pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The other passenger was taken in critical condition to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. The police Major Accident Investigation Unit is investigating.

In an effort to reduce the number of serious and fatal car accidents nationwide, a new two-year study will be conducted to observe driver’s actions and reactions to varying traffic conditions. Researchers then plan to use this information to aid the development of safety improvements in road design, cars and driver training programs. Our Chicago car accident attorneys recognize the significance of this type of study. Crash avoidance research may usher in a new wave of technology that will one day have the ability to save thousands of lives on our roadways.

“Collision prevention is the central goal of the study” said Ken Campbell, chief program officer overseeing safety for the Strategic Highway Research Program, which is part of the non-profit Transportation Research Board. “And the driver is the key to prevent collision.”

The two-year study will install special equipment into the vehicles of 3,100 participants. This equipment consists of four cameras and a data box. The four cameras will record forward and rear views along with the driver’s face and hands. This data will be held in the storage box, which will be kept in the vehicle’s glove box. Researchers will be collecting the recorded data every four to six months, according to Forbes.

“You can’t just look at collisions or near collisions to know what risk factors are. It’s that comparison with what the driver is doing when there is not a safety-related event that tells you what the risk factors are,” says Campbell.

In previous studies, researchers generally focused on countermeasures that protect drivers and passengers after collisions, like seat belts, airbags and crash-worthy vehicles. This is one of the few studies that takes it a step farther and focuses on avoiding the crashes altogether. Car accidents that happen at intersections and accidents where the driver runs off the road will be initial focus areas of this study
The Transportation Research Board is looking for volunteers to participate in Buffalo, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Durham, central Pennsylvania and Bloomington. Every driver that participates in the study will be rewarded with $500 for each year.

“We are particularly interested in people under 25 and over 65” Dr. Campbell said. Both groups represent a small percentage of all drivers and have high collision rates.

To participate, you’ll be required to have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and an approved vehicle. Participating vehicles are subject to a brief inspection. More than half of all vehicle makes are eligible.

“This study is long overdue and has the potential for providing the most comprehensive look at why highway crashes occur,” said Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and educational organization that provided technical advice for the study. “It is unprecedented in its scope and approach. It will be a wonderful supplement to other ongoing and planned traffic safety research efforts. My only disappointment is that the transportation research community didn’t initiate the study several years ago.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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