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Chicago Tribune released a saddening article detailing the death of a 4-year old boy after he fell off his bicycle and was fatally struck by a semi-trailer truck. The report states the boy was riding his new two-wheeler down his driveway and onto East Oakton Street in the northwest suburbs near Des Plaines when he fell. His aunt told reporters, “It just happened really fast. I think his pants were stuck to the bike, and he couldn’t get back up.” He was hit by the rear axle of the semi and was declared dead at the scene after suffering from multiple blunt force injuries. The boy’s mother, who had been pushing a stroller alongside of him, rushed to her son after the collision. The driver of the truck and his passenger also stopped and attempted to help. According to a spokeswoman for the Cook County sheriff’s police, the truck driver was not ticketed.

Our wrongful death attorneys also learned that a 41-year old man from Champaign was killed when the bicycle he was riding swerved into the path of a pickup truck. Illinois State Police told Herald Review he was riding north alongside U.S. 45 near Arcola, just south of Douglass County Road, when a 28-year old pickup truck driver moved to the left to pass him. As he passed, the bicyclist appeared to lose control and “began riding/falling to the left into the northbound lane,” according to state police. The pickup truck struck the bicycle and threw the bicyclist into the highway’s northbound lane. He was pronounced dead at the scene, while the pickup truck driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.

Bicycling is a popular pastime for many families and children, especially during the summer and autumn when the weather is nice. While the activity is generally safe, many Illinois accidents unfortunately involve bicyclists. Semi trucks, tractor-trailers, and pickup trucks are vehicles that are commonly involved in bicycle collisions because of their large weight, height, and number of blind spots present, in combination with extreme vulnerability of the bicyclist. Oftentimes, driver negligence is at play if motorists fail to yield to bicyclists, do not give them the space they need while riding on roadways, do not follow the rules of the road, or are distracted while driving. Other times, accidents can be caused when the bicyclist loses control and falls into the pathway of another vehicle, as seen in the above reports.

Although our truck accident lawyers regularly discuss motor vehicle accidents that are caused by negligent drivers, others can be due to defective parts or general vehicle malfunctions. This may include defects with brakes, seatbelts, the steering wheel, airbags, or tires, all of which can occur for a variety of reasons and often without warning. If your vehicle endures a vehicle malfunction while you are driving, the experience can be scary and can potentially cause serious injury to you or others involved in a collision.

According to ABC 7 News, a box truck blew a tire while traveling in the northbound lane of Interstate 94 near Wadsworth last month. The truck lost control and sideswiped a semi truck shortly afterwards. Even worse, the semi-truck then hit the center median and light pole, which fell across the southbound lanes of the interstate and struck three vehicles in the opposite lanes. The semi truck burst into flames, and traffic was backed up in both directions as officials cleared the scene.

Thankfully, only minor injuries were reported in this multi-vehicle accident. National crash data shows approximately 23,000 collisions and 530 fatalities take place every year around the country because of tire blowouts. Though this type of malfunction is common, its occurrence is generally unexpected and can have serious consequences.

It is obvious that the height and weight of a semi truck is massive compared to the size of a typical passenger vehicle. When a semi truck is traveling in the lane next to a passenger vehicle on a highway or interstate, their size seems even larger and causes many drivers to feel anxious and intimidated. Recently, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Trucking Association, and the Illinois State Police have spoken out about the importance of commercial trucking on Illinois highways and released some basic tips for driving near semi trucks. Our truck accident law firm thought our readers would benefit from learning of these tips to help reduce the fear of semi trucks that many motorists have, as well as to help keep roadways safer for all vehicles.

-First, giving semi trucks enough room to travel on side roads and highways is essential. This is especially true when roads are congested due to traffic or construction. Give trucks room to change lanes, make turns at intersections, and to enter freeways through exit ramps, and remember that it takes additional time for semi trucks to complete these actions.

-Try to avoid making sudden lane changes, stops, or changes in speed when a semi truck is traveling immediately behind you. Because trucks take longer to stop, driving in a manner that a truck driver would not be able to anticipate could result in a chain-reaction collision or accident. Maintaining a safe distance from semi trucks will also help to prevent an accident.

Many of us have heard the old phrase, “There are two types of motorcyclists: those that have crashed, and those that are going to crash.” While many motorcyclists detest this statement, others believe it serves as a reminder of how dangerous riding motorcycles can be. Drivers of any type of vehicle, including passenger vehicles, semi trucks, or motorcycles themselves take part in collisions with motorcycles every day around the country. The chance of these collisions taking place in combination with the extreme vulnerability of motorcyclists often leaves them more prone to serious injury or fatality.

Because of the already high risks involved with driving or riding on a motorcycle, it is saddening for our motorcycle accident law firm to learn about motorcyclists who choose to drive under the influence of alcohol. Though drinking and driving is a serious concern for the drivers of all vehicles, the number of motorcycle deaths associated with alcohol-impaired driving has been increasing in recent years (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Specifically, accident data from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) shows that motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes are 2.5 times more likely to have consumed alcohol just before the accident than passenger vehicle drivers. In 2009, the number of alcohol-impaired motorcyclists in fatal crashes increased by 10% while the number of alcohol-impaired drivers of passenger cars declined by 6%. The majority of the alcohol-impaired accident fatalities were males, with accidents most commonly taking place between 6-9pm on the weekend.

Car and trucking accidents range in type, cause, and severity and can have a variety of impacts on those involved. Personal injury, medical expenses, emotional damage, and/or vehicle repairs are just a few of the consequences that victims may face, either affecting them temporarily or for years after the initial accident.

It is a sad truth that besides those directly involved in an accident, others such as family members, friends, or witnesses of the accident can also suffer from psychological damage, grief, or fear of stepping behind the wheel. When someone is killed in a motor vehicle accident, many families find it necessary to make a claim for compensation after facing any of the above costs. This was recently the case when the family of a man killed by an impaired truck driver announced a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the truck and is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

The 21-year old from Chicago was killed in November when he was on his way home from work around 1:30am. A drunk truck driver crossed five lanes of traffic and struck the victim’s vehicle on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 95th Street. The collision caused both vehicles to strike a concrete barrier wall. The victim suffered massive head trauma and was unconscious and without a heartbeat when paramedics arrived to the scene. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where doctors pronounced him dead at 2:30 a.m.

Our personal injury attorneys often discuss the wide range of accidents that take place on Illinois highways, interstates, and larger roadways, as well as the outcomes these accidents have on the individuals involved. Interestingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Traffic Safety Report” released that in a recent polling, 97% of drivers feel that their safety is at risk when they are driving on smaller roadways, side streets, and intersections.

After looking into additional traffic safety statistics from NHTSA, we found that in 2010, there were more than 2.3 million reported intersection-related crashes throughout the country, resulting in more than 7,770 fatalities and up to 730,000 injuries. One of the biggest causes of these accidents happens to be one of the most dangerous and costly problems that exists on roadways today: red-light running.

Red-light running is a serious intersection safety issue, causing almost 1,000 deaths in 2010 alone. In fact, deaths caused by red-light running are increasing at more than three times the rate of increase for all other fatal crashes. It is important to note that half of the people killed in red-light running are not the signal violators, but rather the drivers and pedestrians that are hit by motorists that drove through red lights. Further statistics show that an average of 3.2 red light violations occur per hour, ultimately costing the public an estimated $14 billion every year.

In previous blogs, our attorneys have warned motorists of the many dangers associated with distracted driving. Whether an individual is drinking and driving, texting and driving, playing the radio loudly, or simply driving with a vehicle full of passengers, distractions can increase the risk of an accident occurring and therefore increase the risk of serious injuries to those involved. This was the case on Monday when a man was injured in a two-vehicle accident after taking his eyes off of the road.

Our personal injury law firm learned that the accident took place in Newman on U.S. 36 at 11:55am. According to News-gazette.com, a 21-year old man of eastern Illinois was driving west on the interstate, about a third of a mile west of Illinois 49, when he approached a Freightliner truck. State police report that the driver told authorities he had intended to pass the truck, but failed to do so once he looked down for a few seconds; when he looked back up, he realized he was too close to the truck and rear-ended it.

The driver was taken by ambulance to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana and is currently in stable condition. He was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The 61-year old truck driver remained unharmed. Both vehicles had experienced a significant amount of damage as a result of the collision, and police stated that both drivers were lucky to walk away from it.

With high summer temperatures bringing many regions of the country heat and humidity, staying cool during these times is critical in order to prevent serious injury or damage to one’s health. Although we hear about incidents every year when the summers comes around, a personal injury attorney at our firm was surprised to read a report about a woman who recently left her child in her car while the temperature was ninety degrees outside.

Cbs.local.com reports that the ten-year-old girl was left unattended in the parked car outside of a grocery store while the driver went shopping. Police say that an officer checking to make sure the fire lanes in front of the store were clear spotted the car illegally parked in the fire lane. When the officer looked closer, he saw that the car was running and the little girl was inside. When he spoke with the girl, she told him she had been waiting there for a very long time.

The report states that the 25 year-old driver was later ticketed for leaving the girl in the vehicle while she went shopping. According to police, this had been the sixth time last week that someone had been charged with leaving a child, dog, or a combination of both in a car, sometimes with temperatures higher than ninety degrees and the car windows closed.

Because most individuals are aware of the severity of drinking and driving and how dangerous it can be for anyone on the roadway, we often hear of the use of “designated drivers” as a way for a group of people consume alcohol and get taken home safely by one person who agrees not to drink. For teenagers and adults, this is thought to greatly reduce the threats of injuries and accidents caused by drunken driving. But according to Npr.org, many designated drivers may be drinking, too.

Researchers are reported to have conducted a test in which they gave breath tests to over one thousand young adults around thirty years old that were leaving an out-of-state bar on a Saturday night. Surprisingly, they found that 41% of the 165 designated drivers had been drinking, while almost 20% had been drinking enough to be considered impaired. This seems to stem from the fact that many U.S. drivers think that it is acceptable for a designated driver to drink as long as his or her blood alcohol level is below the legal limit.

From the perspective of our personal injury lawyers, a problem is that it is difficult for anyone gauge their blood alcohol content while they are drinking. When drivers’ driving skills are tested in laboratories, some studies have found that driving skills became impaired with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% and that it is difficult for almost everyone to drive well at a level of 0.05%. Both of these levels are much lower than the 0.08% that remains to be the current legal limit across the country. The report states that after these studies were released in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the National Transportation Safety Board called for lowering the blood alcohol limit to 0.05%.

Memorial Day weekend is just one weekend in May that makes many people feel like summer is just around the corner. There is unfortunately a correlation between the anticipation of the seasonal change and motorists and passengers wearing seatbelts less while traveling. Our accident attorneys learned that due to increased travel during the holiday weekend over the last few years, an average of 12.2 percent more traffic fatalities generally occurred than during comparable non-holiday time frames. Additionally, about 39,500 more injuries resulted from motor vehicle accidents. These injuries and fatalities were often due to drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts.

Thankfully, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s “Click it or Ticket” annual campaign was created a few years ago in order to increase seatbelt usage throughout the country. Because of the above statistics and injury rates, the most campaigning is usually completed before and on Memorial Day weekend. During this time, state and local law enforcement agencies crack down on motorists who are not wearing seatbelts. Chicago.cbslocal.com released that over the recent holiday weekend, the campaign saved an estimated 330 people. NHTSA states that the safety belt enforcement campaign was responsible for successfully contributing to the highest national safety belt usage rate of 85 percent.

Thirty-three states, including Illinois, have principal seat belt laws that allow police officers to ticket motorists or passengers for not wearing seat belts. In addition, sixteen states have secondary laws that allow officers to issue tickets to unbelted motorists or passengers only when there is a “citable traffic violation” at play. (Freep.com). Among primary law states, Illinois issued the most citations last year, a massive 74,364 as compared to Arkansas, for example, which had the lowest at 435. These numbers are presented as seen on NHTSA’s most recent “Click It or Ticket Evaluation Report.”

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