Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Chicagoland Limo Fatal CrashAuthorities from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) have ordered the Lyons Limousine company to cease all operations on interstate and intrastate roadways. This order comes on the heels of an April 2016 limousine-involved crash occurring on Interstate 90 (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) in Elgin, that claimed the life of Terri Schmidt and left six others critically injured. The release of information from the FMCSA revealed that authorities believe that Lyons Limousine could be “an imminent hazard to public safety.”

The order that was released by the United States Department of Transportation revealed that “Lyons Limousines use of unqualified and under-age drivers with poor driving records, lack of inspections, repairs and maintenance records, and complete disregard of the hours-of-service regulations substantially increases the likelihood of death or serious harm to drivers, passengers and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.”

The order to cease operations was served to the Wisconsin company owners Patrick and Mary Lyons after the completion of the investigation of the March 2016 accident involving Schmidt and her husband along with two other couples traveling from the state of Wisconsin to O’Hare International Airport. At the time of the fatal crash, the couples were headed to the airport for a vacation in Mexico. During the initial investigation, the young limousine driver claimed he was blinded by the bright sunlight when traveling to the tollway construction zone.

Insurance Companies are Hiding Many Things
Any person dealing with a personal injury claim will likely come into contact with an insurance company that represents the individual or business responsible for the incident. While the world of insurance is exceedingly complex, having an appreciation for some of the basic principles behind how insurers operate can help you ensure that you receive the maximum recovery possible for your incident.

Insurance companies go to great lengths to make us believe that they are not only friendly and willing to look out for us but that they also represent our interests and needs. Many insurance advertisements mention how quick and easy it is to file a claim and repair your vehicle following an accident.

While insurance companies lure us in with promises of savings and quick resolutions to claims, they leave out important information, such as how they really make money or what lengths they will go to in order to protect their own interests rather than those of their customers. Here are some of the things that insurance companies hope you will never learn.

Dangers of Multi Vehicle AccidentsBruce Jenner is currently under investigation for his involvement in a multicar accident in which 69 year old Kim Howe was killed after her Lexus collided head on with a Hummer after being rear ended and pushed into oncoming traffic by Jenner’s vehicle. Jenner is currently cooperating with authorities and offering any assistance required in determining the course of events that unfolded in the seconds before the fatal crash. It is still unclear whether he will face criminal charges for his role in the accident, but he may also be held liable in civil court if it is determined that his actions were a contributing factor in the crash due to being distracted while operating a vehicle.

Accident under Investigation

Nearly 80% of auto accidents involve some form of inattention or distraction by the driver according to the NHTSA and the investigation will likely revolve around what transpired in the critical three seconds prior to Jenner’s vehicle colliding with Howe’s. It may take months before accident reconstruction specialists are able to determine the exact cause of the action and the course of events which resulted in a chain reaction accident in which multiple cars collided with one another before sending Howe’s vehicle in the direction of oncoming traffic. It is apparent that Kim Howe collided with a vehicle after it suddenly slowed or came to a stop and that Bruce Jenner then rear ended her with his Escalade. It was the impact of his SUV on her car that sent it on the path which would lead to Howe’s death.

Ride Sharing Program in ChicagoThe Popularity of Ride-Sharing Programs in Chicago

As workers and unemployed individuals continue to feel an increasingly tightened financial pinch, apps like Uber and SideCar are sky-rocketing in popularity. These smartphone apps give users an easy way to find affordable transportation from private drivers in a city. Gone are the days of spending $10-20 to travel a couple miles in cities like New York City or Chicago. Instead, Uber and other ride-sharing apps allow individuals to find the lowest rates in the area. While a cab driver may charge $40 for a single ride to the airport, a private driver may be willing to make the drive for $20.

While ride-sharing programs may seem like a great way to cut costs for the average person trying to save some money, there are also inherent risks in using these programs. A passenger may not fully consider the driving record of the individual being hired for transportation. Drivers who register with these programs may be willing to take greater risks, such as driving while intoxicated, due to the lack of licensing regulations governing ride-sharing programs. Unlike cab drivers, private drivers do not have their livelihood at stake in making a commute with passengers who purchase services from sites like Uber.

Using Different Fonts to Help with DistractionCan One Small Change Impact Distracted Driving Crash Rates?

Distracted driving continues to be a major problem facing the U.S. In 2011, distracted driving accounted for over 3,000 fatalities and 387,000 injuries. Texting and surfing the web have been common causes contributing to an increase in distracted driving accidents. Dealing with distracted driving has become more difficult in recent years. Government agencies and private research companies are now trying to find innovative ways to decrease crash rates.
A recent research study assessing the role of fonts in car navigation screens seems to hold promise for mitigation crash rates for the future. There may be no way to fully prevent people from texting or surfing news headlines on a smartphone while on the road apart from the force of law or the occasional traffic ticket. The Washington Post recently published an article discussing another innovative method being studied to mitigate distracted driving rates. The article discussed how the typeface design firm, Monotype, has taken up the task of conducting scientific research on fonts that are most visible to the human eye to diminish distracted driving. The design firm anticipates that car manufacturers will soon be launching vehicles with navigation screens and touch screens that mirror a MacBook Pro.

Alcohol impairs drivingWhile there is a ‘legal limit’ that dictates how much alcohol people are allowed to drink before getting behind the wheel, a recent University of California, San Diego study suggests that alcohol consumption at any level may impair drivers.

How was the study set up?

David Phillips, a UC San Diego sociologist, and colleagues found that when it comes to those people who are to ‘blame’ for fatal car crashes, it is oftentimes the “minimally buzzed” drivers rather than those who had nothing to drink.

Developing Countries and DrivingWith more than 120 fatal traffic accidents every year, one might think that driving in Chicago can be hazardous to your health. The number of fatal accidents may appear high and the amount of Chicagoans that complain about dings and scratches on their vehicle are far more numerous. However, if we consider that Chicago has more than 2.5 million residents who all commute on many of the same roads during the same time of the day, that figure begins to make sense.

However, when we look at the developing world, it is quick to see that our rules and regulations are certainly safer than in many developing countries. In fact, estimates from a recent Global Burden of Disease study put fatal traffic accidents as the fifth leading cause of death in the world by 2030. This would mean that traffic accidents would kill more people than tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and many other diseases that receive a lot more attention.

More about the victims of road-accidents

Will Speed Cameras Affect Safety? If early results are any indication, Chicago’s new speed camera program will result in safer streets by deterring motorists from speeding, especially in school zones.  In the first month after the city rolled out the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program in August 2013, it reported a 65 percent reduction in drivers speeding more than 10 miles over the speed limit.

Annually, about 3,000 crashes occur in Chicago involving motor vehicles and pedestrians, and 800 involve children.  A car traveling the school-zone speed limit of 20 mph is far less likely to cause a fatality than a car exceeding 40 mph, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Last year, the city’s department of transportation strategically placed 50 cameras within a short proximity to schools and parks throughout the city, with locations chosen based on accident and speeding data.  The ASE system uses a 3-D tracking radar that identifies any vehicle traveling faster than the posted speed limit, which triggers a high-resolution digital camera and high-definition video camera, which record the violation and the vehicle’s license tags.

According to the city’s website, the program’s rollout was designed to help motorists adjust to the new system by issuing only warnings and not tickets upon the first violation, and erecting signs warning drivers they are approaching ASE zones about 600 feet in advance of the cameras. Fines for violations are $35 for vehicles traveling 6-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, and $100 for vehicles traveling 11 or more miles over the speed limit.

Roll Over Accidents are Common in 15 Passenger VansDespite the fact that 15-passenger vans are increasingly popular with commuters, they are not always safe in the hands of an inexperienced driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that the risk of rollover when the van is overloaded is high, and having a rollover crash with a 15-passenger van might be fatal.

A popular method of getting around – with a catch

Church groups, colleges, youth sports teams, more and more people love to use 15-passenger vans to get around. However, crash data from 2003 to 2007 suggests that the more people are riding along in the van, the greater the risk of a rollover is going to be – even if the vehicle is involved in a single-vehicle accident. Despite the fact that these are heavily advertised as being able to carry 15 passengers, the rollover rate was nearly three times as high with only 10 or more occupants when compared to the van carrying fewer than five people.

Uninsured drivers are a common occurenceDespite the fact that most states require motorists to have insurance on their cars (in fact, this goes for all states except for New Hampshire), there are still many uninsured drivers on the road. In fact, according to a research study from the Insurance Research Council, approximately 1 in 7 drivers are driving without even so much as basic coverage. The research study also suggested that over the last few years, the uninsured motorist rate has increased because of the struggling economy. Many are trying to test the law more to avoid monthly premiums because of tough economic times. However, those who are properly insured may experience serious consequences because of this increase in uninsured and uninsured drivers.

Having to go through court

Getting into an accident with an uninsured driver may be particularly problematic. In fact, if the uninsured driver is at fault and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you will have to go through court in order to get compensation for your damages. Even if you go through court, have a lawyer represent you, and win a claim, the uninsured driver may not have the funds to cover your expenses.

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