Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Distracted driving has been a growing concern over the last decade and state and local governments are beginning to respond by implementing severe laws that would deter drivers from using or even looking at their cellphones while they are on the road. California enacted a law in the beginning of 2017 that will prohibit drivers from using their phone for any purpose whatsoever while in their hands or laps. The public has already responded with citizens taking up both sides of the issue in their remarks. For many who fear for their own safety, the law has been long overdue.

Closure of a Loophole Which Made Previous Laws Difficult to Enforce

California New Distracted Driving Law The new law is very similar to an existing California law that prohibited the use of cellphones while driving to make calls or to text. Drivers could still use hands-free calling and were able to use phones to browse social media, access music playlists and to even film themselves and others while their vehicles were in motion. All of these activities detract from the ability of a driver to focus on the road ahead and commonsense has not prevailed in history.

Payment Coverage on your Auto Insurance PolicyIllinois vehicle accident attorneys deal with many people who question if they need medical payment coverage on their auto policy. They may not understand what medical payment coverage is, or they may find it redundant to add another fee to their auto insurance, especially if they already have health insurance.

Many individuals only think of the damage to their car in the event of an accident, but an injury to yourself and other passengers is just as important. Medical payment coverage can cover the holes in other insurance policies you have and ensure that you are covered if and when you get into an accident.

How Medical Payment Coverage Works

Levels of THC in Medical Marijuana and its' EffectsAs cannabis continues to be legalized throughout the United States (both for medical reasons and recreational use), it has proven important to both lawmakers and police officers to find a way to test the impairedness of a driver who has THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in their system. The main issue with finding a standardizing level of THC-impairedness is that THC is not processed in the same way as alcohol. While the legal limit for alcohol is easy to measure at 0.08 using proven devices, it is difficult to determine a specific amount of THC that encompasses its effects for everyone who uses it.

What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a chemical responsible for producing most of the psychological effects of smoking and consuming marijuana. The chemical effects of cannabinoid receptors concentrated in specific areas of the brain that are known to affect memory, thinking, coordination, pleasure and time perception. While the human body naturally makes cannabinoid chemicals, the compound THC can also be consumed or inhaled from the resin in the glands of marijuana plants. The chemical stimulates brain cells to release dopamine which in many creates euphoria along with other stated side effects.

Marijuana and DrivingHorror stories about innocent drivers being hit head-on by drivers who have been using illegal drugs have been spreading throughout the media as of late. One such story is that of Blake Gaston, a twenty-three-year-old who had just left a restaurant on his motorcycle when he was hit by a driver who had been smoking marijuana.

Gaston was an accomplished musician and website designer whose future was bright–until it was ended by an irresponsible driver. Gaston’s mother, who was present at the scene of the accident, was horrified by the incident and saddened by the fact that her son’s life was taken at such a young age. “Blake was going to change the world,” she said. Her hug goodbye to her son as he left the restaurant was the last time she would embrace him before she saw him bleeding to death only fifty feet away.

Jake Nelson, the Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research at AAA, said that “driving is already a tough task. When you add a drug that impairs our ability to manage that task, it’s a recipe for disaster.” This recipe for disaster calls for many Illinois impaired driving accident attorneys to file claims and work for compensation for those who have been injured or otherwise affected by an impaired driver.

Detecting Distracted Driver AccidentsMore than eight individuals lose their lives every day by distracted driving and another 1000 are injured. Even more disturbing, this is the first time in 10 years that the number of car accidents in America has risen significantly. Sadly, this spike in the number of car crashes is the result of texting while driving. Fortunately, the new Textalyzer device might be the answer to the problem with its ability to detect when a vehicle operator is texting while behind the wheel.

While drunk driving has always known to be dangerous to the motorist, passengers and others sharing the roadway, texting while driving is just as bad as driving impaired by alcohol or drugs. This is because texting causes the driver to avert their eyes from the roadway to send or read a text message. The amount of time it takes to read a simple text while traveling at 55 miles an hour is equal to the distance of a football field. In that distance, a myriad of obstacles can appear that could result in a crash.

The Textalyzer device is to distracted driving what a breathalyzer is to drunk driving. New York legislators are considering equipping police officers in New York with a Textalyzer device to help determine if the motorist involved in a collision was texting while driving. The proposed bill under consideration proposes to allow law enforcement authorities the legal right to examine smartphones at the scene of an accident.

Summer Driving SeasonStatistics reveal that the summer months are the most dangerous time of the year for teenage drivers. With school out for the summer months, many teenagers have additional time away from their academic responsibilities to spend time with family and friends. Part-time jobs, pool parties and gatherings often require teen drivers to spend more time on the road. More than 1000 individuals lose their lives every year in automobile crashes involving teenage drivers.

For teen motorists, the seven deadliest days for driving fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. According to statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the highest number of fatal accidents occur in the early part of June, on the Fourth of July, in the middle of July, and during the first few weeks in August.

A study by AAA (American Automobile Association) confirmed that six out of 10 crashes with teenage drivers behind the wheel also involve distractions. Some of these distractions included talking with friends inside the vehicle, speaking on mobile phones, texting, reading emails, consuming beverages, eating or fatigue. The study also revealed that half of all teenage drivers admitted to reading emails and text messages while driving in the previous month.

Self Driving Cars and SafetyA proposal by the Obama administration opens up the possibility of government funding into research that will eventually lead to the development of a self-driving vehicle. If the administration has its way, $4 billion in funding will be committed over a ten year period in the hopes that an autonomous vehicle will greatly reduce the number of fatal accidents experienced each year. In recent history, technology has become a source of distraction and led to an increase in auto related fatalities despite more advanced safety technologies. Self-driving vehicles could be the solution to this dilemma, as they would allow drivers to multitask without placing themselves and others at risk.

Proposal Includes Updates to Infrastructure

Investing in technology connected roads is critical to the invention of an autonomous vehicle and President Obama has addressed this need in his 2017 budget proposal, which will commit funds to the development of vehicle technology as well as roadways that are compatible with the new vehicles. Automakers are already in a race to develop the first self-driving vehicle, but this proposal will clear financial obstacles standing in their way by allotting exemptions for up to 2,500 test vehicles to be used in real on-road tests.

Accident Frequency in Chicago Hurts AllstateAllstate is being squeezed by rising accident rates and more severe auto related injuries throughout the Chicago area. In Chicago alone, 130 vehicular fatalities were reported and the average number of accidents reported across Illinois each day has risen to almost 800. The Chicago car accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have noticed a corresponding increase in the number of cases we’ve taken on as a result and are concerned by current statistical trends. In addition to costing victims more money for expensive medical care, the increased accident rates are forcing insurance companies like Allstate to make adjustments to their business models to remain profitable.

Falling Gas Prices Reflect Rising Death Rates

Gas prices have plummeted over the last few years, prompting more people to purchase vehicles and to drive more frequently. This is one of the contributing factors to the increase in accidents over this time period, but other factors have equal weight. New technologies provide additional distractions to drivers and when combined with increased traffic volume, create a recipe for more accidents and more severe injuries.

Driving Laws in IllinoisMost new traffic laws and ordinances go into effect unnoticed and drivers are not aware of the new rules until they are caught breaking them. 2016 saw numerous changes that enact important safety measures designed to reduce the number of accidents seen on Illinois’s roads. Our Illinois car accident attorneys have already studied these laws and their implications on future cases and would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your rights if you have been injured in an accident. Understanding the new laws in place will also help you avoid liability due to noncompliance and help make the roads safer.

More Chances for DUI Offenders

In what may be considered a step in the wrong direction, DUI offenders are now offered additional chances to get their act together and reinstate their licenses following DUI convictions. A law went into effect on January 1 of this year that paves a path for those convicted of this offense to return to the roads. Those who have been convicted of multiple offenses may have their licenses reinstated, but must purchase a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device for five years before they receive a full reinstatement. In the past, drivers were only required to use the device for a single year, making this new law more restrictive than in the past, but another provision in the law now provides additional opportunities for drunk drivers to return to the roads despite numerous offenses.

Lowering Blood Levels for DrivingDespite increased efforts to raise awareness to drunken driving concerns, alcohol related accidents remain the cause of around one third of all automotive related fatalities in the nation. The National Transportation Safety Board is suggesting a further restriction on the amount of blood alcohol content needed to deem a person drunk behind the wheel as one possible solution. The proposal comes as data from other nations that have implemented similar restrictions shows a decline in drunken driving accidents and a reduction in alcohol related deaths. A reduction in the legal limit will ultimately motivate more drivers to stay put or seek rides from sober drivers if they have been drinking, which may be the reason the measure has seen success abroad.

Current Laws Modeled After NTSB Recommendations

Most states have followed past recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board when setting legal blood alcohol content levels— which is why the limit is often at or near .08 across the entire country. The NTSB is now suggesting a limit of .05 instead, which would equate to no more than two drinks within an hour for an average male of 160 pounds. Since alcohol affects each individual differently, it is difficult to determine at what point the average individual can be considered impaired.

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