Road Memorials on Illinois Road WaysSpecial signs are available to increase the public’s awareness of driving while impaired or to honor those who lost their lives in the service of others including fallen veterans, police officers, public servants and individuals killed in action. Numerous programs by the Illinois Department of Transportation also administers fatal accident memorials signs for fatalities occurring on Illinois highways after December 31, 1989.

Makeshift Roadside Memorials

There is a story of heart break behind every handmade roadside shrine or cross that appears along major roads and freeways by surviving families remembering a loved one who died in a fatal accident. Every year, more of these sacred shrines with messages, trinkets, flowers, and mementos appear along the road at the spot where the accident occurred. Some of these public markers are simple in design while others ornate and permanent with each one displaying the private grief and emotional suffering of those left behind.

Helmets in Illinois Some individuals enjoy using their motorcycle as the preferred way to move about the city or take a leisurely trip on Illinois State routes. Others see motorcycle riding as an economical choice to reduce the expense of buying gas and paying high insurance premiums when traveling to work, shopping or other local destinations. Most riders know the risks of motorcycling and should wear a motorcycle helmet to protect themselves should they crash, which choose not to.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) released crash information for the year 2014 involving motorcycle accidents with injuries and fatalities. The report revealed that 92 percent (3030 incidents) of the 3292 motorcycle crashes occurring that year involved males, and more than a third of those (1146 accidents) were between 21 and 34 years of age. Motorcyclists who suffered fatal injuries in these accidents that year “were less likely to have been using safety equipment” like wearing a helmet.

Statistics show that of the 118 motorcycle fatalities occurring in 2014, fewer than 2 percent had been wearing a DOT-compliant helmet and 80 percent (68 fatalities) were not wearing any helmet at the time of the accidents. The number of deaths associated with motorcycle accidents occurring in Illinois in 2015 rose 24 percent from the previous year.

Deliveries During the HolidaysIn recent years, Amazon, Target, Walmart and other leading online retailers are shifting their hiring practices for the holiday season. In the past, most of these companies primarily hired seasonal workers for their stores. However, with the search of online traffic and millions more choosing to do their shopping over the Internet, help is needed more than ever before in warehouses that fill trucks transporting goods to stores and fulfill online orders. But, this new strategy of filling seasonal jobs could place new workers in jeopardy due to the unexpected hazards a delivery company work environment.

In September 2017, UPS, the largest parcel delivery service in the world, release plans to hire almost 100,000 additional workers to handle and deliver packages through the holidays beginning in November and ending in January. FedEx stated the company would be hiring approximately 50,000 additional workers to handle the surge during the holiday season.

A Race to Deliver

Laws-in-California-for-Hand-Free-DrivingCalifornia is trying a bold new approach to the subject of distracted driving with the implementation of its newest law— if you are holding anything but the wheel, you will receive a ticket. Drivers no longer need to be caught in the actual act of making a call or texting and police officers can ticket them simply for having a mobile device such as a phone or tablet where it can be accessed behind the wheel. The law doesn’t just seek to reduce the number of drivers using their smartphones, but to eliminate their very presence from view.

Texting While Driving is the Single Largest Threat to Drivers in Recent History

Over the last fifty years, increased population and access to mobile technology have combined to give us the sharpest increases in traffic fatalities we have ever seen. 46 states have now outlawed texting and driving, but it can be extremely difficult for police officers to catch culprits red-handed. Previous incarnations of California’s law have not been deemed strict enough to help reverse this trend.

Child Seat Safety in IllinoisAutomobile accidents remain the leading cause of severe injury and death for children. The potential risk of a child dying in a motor vehicle crash is substantially higher if they are not secured in a child restraint seat that is securely fastened in place. In fact, child safety seats can reduce the potential risk of suffering injuries by 82 percent and the decrease the risk of dying by 28 percent compared to just being strapped into the vehicle seatbelt.

According to statistics from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 653 children younger than 13 years of age died in motor vehicle accidents in 2015. Of these children, 35 percent were not restrained in a car seat or vehicle seat belt that might have saved their lives.

According to statistics by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), more than 121,000 children in the U.S. suffered injuries in vehicle crashes in 2014. The CDC study also reported that approximately 618,000 children under the age of 13 ride in vehicles without using a child car safety seat, booster seat, or the vehicle seat belt.

Attention Needs to Be Given to Nursing FacilitiesNursing facilities that are found guilty of numerous breaches of health code and misconduct that places patients at risk of harm are often classified as special focus facilities and monitored more closely to make sure that they change their policies. Unfortunately, the changes are usually short lived and the negligent nursing homes have a way of returning to their original habits the moment they escape the scrutiny of the government agencies keeping them in check. What must be done to finally secure the wellbeing of our loved ones and to hold nursing centers to account when their actions harm other people?

How Facilities are Added and Removed from Special Focus Consideration

It is seemingly impossible for state and federal health departments to keep tabs on every single nursing home in the United States. This can be shocking when you learn that 92% of nursing homes have committed some sort of infraction since opening their doors. Most of these deficiencies are minor and can be corrected with minimal effort. However, there is a growing number of systemic abuses that can be linked to the prioritization of profit over the needs and interests of patients.

Click Your SeatBelt for SafetyBuckling up your safety belt is the law in Illinois that can result in substantial fines if you do not. A seatbelt provides you the best opportunity to avoid a severe injury or death in an automobile accident. Whether you drive a family sedan, sports car, or an 18-wheeler truck, local law enforcement officers will pull you over and ticket you if you are not wearing a seatbelt. This is because of the high success rate of saving thousands of American lives who followed the guidance to “Buckle Up America” and “Click it or Ticket” safety campaigns.

The nationwide “Click It or Ticket” Safety Campaign was launched back in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Transportation under its National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). While the campaign was originally targeted on all motorists across America, it especially focused on younger male drivers between 18 and 34 years of age because research revealed this demographic group rarely wears their seatbelt.

Through a massive effort, the state of Illinois in conjunction with the US Department of Transportation increased public awareness on how law enforcement officers will cite traffic law violators including those who do not wear a seatbelt. This educational campaign provides public information to inform drivers of the benefits of always wearing a seatbelt. This campaign lasts up to six weeks and focuses on reducing injuries and saving lives by promoting the importance of buckling up. The annual event starts near the end of April and lasts until the end of June.

Roadways Improve for Traffic SafetyTraffic safety is a crucial component of transportation planning objectives when roadway developers are looking for ways to improve the driving experience to ensure everyone reaches their destination without harm. In the U.S., traffic accidents claim the lives of more than 32,000 drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians every year and leave hundreds of thousands of others injured and disabled. Because of that, safety is a major concern in roadway design, maintenance, and operation.

Roadway engineers understand that there are numerous factors that affect the risk of traveling on highways, expressways, freeways, roads, and streets. This includes the type of travel, the amount of traffic, the types of vehicles, the condition of the street surface and the behavior of every driver sharing the road. Road construction developers have long used effective traffic planning strategies that focus on every risk the motorist faces. This includes distracted driving, drunk driving, poorly designed roads, unsafe vehicles, adverse weather conditions and the changing conditions of traffic during rush-hour.

Road engineers described normal traffic as motor vehicles operated by a sober, responsible drivers traveling in relatively new cars or trucks while wearing a seatbelt and traveling on an efficiently designed road. However, designing and constructing roads that accommodate “normal travel” motorists are not always the best ways to ensure safety when traveling. Instead, statisticians measure safe driving activity and/or behaviors by the numbers of fatalities, injuries or accidents per 100,000 vehicle miles, where the statistics present a much clearer image of how safe roads really are for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Safety-Campaign-on-Reducing-Drunk-DrivingFor decades, state agencies and local communities have initiated mass media campaigns to promote public health and reduce drunk driving and alcohol-related accidents. Keeping the public aware is essential because according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), on average, 28 individuals in America lose their lives each day to alcohol-related crashes at the rate of one every 51 minutes. With more than 13,000 lives lost every year in the U.S., eliminating dangerous behavior behind the wheel can make traveling safer for everyone sharing the road.

In 1983, the NHTSA launched its “Friends Don’t Lead Friends Drive Drunk” campaign in an effort to prevent alcohol-impaired friends and family members from driving after drinking. Fifteen years later in 1998, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that the nation had its lowest number of roadway accident fatalities involving alcohol since the government agency gathering statistics. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has continually sponsored this highly successful campaign along with others including their “Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship” public safety announcement.

Surveys show that seven out of every ten Americans at some point since the campaign was initially launched have attempted to stop another person from driving after drinking. The agency’s newest campaign “Probably Okay Isn’t Okay” asks the viewer to assess how they look for obvious and not so obvious indicators of impairment on themselves and others when deciding to get behind the wheel.

Reasons for AccidentsSome of the most catastrophic accidents occur when a driver headed down the highway suddenly spots a truck or car traveling directly toward them in the wrong direction that that could cause a horrific head-on collision. Usually, these accidents are avoided because of median barriers that stop errant driving and roadway signage that clearly identifies the direction of traffic to prevent drivers from entering the road the wrong way.

However, according to statistics released by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, more than 350 individuals lose their lives every year in wrong way driving crashes even on roads where the direction of the traffic is clearly marked. Even though wrong way crashes are an uncommon occurrence, affecting just a small percentage of all accidents involving motor vehicles, these types of collisions lead the pack again all motor vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities. These types of pressures have a high fatality rate range between 12% and 27%, which is disproportionately higher than other types of vehicle-related crashes and collision.

Wrong way collisions typically involve a head-on impact at a high rate of speed that often results in a horrific injury or fatality involving both drivers and passengers. Any vehicle occupant who survives the accident usually sustains an extremely severe injury that causes long-term residual problems in the future. Most survivors require constant rehabilitation and ongoing surgeries to restore basic functions or repair broken or crossbones bones and other severe injuries to other extremities. This includes head trauma, brain injuries, whiplash, or injury to the chest, spinal cord, ribs, and/or abdomen. Paralysis is also a common result of wrong way driving crashes.

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