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Central Illinois Law Blog

Study shows underride guards on trailers could save lives

Mounting tractor-trailer trucks with side underride guards could save lives in Illinois and nationwide, according to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study marks the first time the agency has analyzed the effectiveness of side underride guards on trailers.

In the spring, IIHS conducted tests comparing the protective capabilities of a side underride protection device with that of a fiberglass side skirt. The AngelWing device, manufactured by Airflow Deflector Inc., is designed to prevent motor vehicles from sliding beneath tractor-trailers in a crash. The fiberglass side skirt is only intended to boost aerodynamics. To test each device, the agency crashed a midsize car into the side of a 53-foot trailer at 35 mph. The first test showed that the AngelWing device bent from the force of the collision but prevented the car from sliding beneath the trailer. In the second test, the fiberglass side skirt allowed the car to smash under the trailer, shearing off part of the roof. IIHS said the second crash would likely have been fatal.

What to do and not to do at your first DUI stop

When the police pull you over for any reason, it is in your best interest to be respectful and cooperative to prevent making the situation turn south. However, it is also in your best interest to know when you have to do as an officer asks and when you have no legal duty to obey.

One of the most important times to know the difference is when you are at a DUI stop for the first time. The police will likely ask you to take one or more tests. What you agree to do will affect what happens next, so be aware of how to react to avoid incriminating yourself.

1 dead in interstate car crash

On April 30, a car accident that took place on an Illinois highway left one person dead and several others with serious injuries. The crash took place on Interstate 94 and Buckley Road at about 11:49 a.m. It caused the eastbound lanes to be closed for about three hours.

The 62-year-old female driver of a 2007 Dodge allegedly lost control of her vehicle and struck a 2005 Honda Pilot, which was being driven by a 59-year-old Kenosha man. This collision caused a chain reaction accident that ultimately involved the 2007 Dodge, a 2015 Dodge Caravan, the 2005 Honda, a Mercedes, a Kenworth hauling a trailer and another 2007 Honda.

Dog attacks on postal workers increasing

Illinois residents may be interested to learn that dog attacks involving postal workers are on the rise. According to reports, the number of dog attacks on postal workers was up to 6,755 in 2016, an increase of 206 attacks from the previous year. In fact, the number of dog attacks involving postal workers reached the highest in 30 years.

It is estimated that, every year, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs across the nation. Postal workers may be more at risk of suffering dog attacks. Although only approximately 2 percent of postal workers have been bitten by dogs, a 17-year veteran worker noted that every worker had stories of experiences with dogs, whether that means having to outrun or cajole a territorial animal.

Driving defensively to prevent distracted driving crashes

Although many Illinois drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, some still actively use their smartphones while they are operating their vehicles. In fact, there are studies available that suggest that distracted driving may be more dangerous than drunk driving. As such, it is important that drivers do everything they can to protect themselves and others against distracted driving.

The founder of has been working diligently to change the way drivers think about distracted driving. He argued that drivers should anticipate the potential mistakes that other drivers may make. This includes staying alert when traveling through intersections even with a green light. Drivers should anticipate vehicles running red lights. They should also anticipate pedestrians who may be looking at their phones to step into the roadway even when they do not have the right of way. By anticipating these actions, drivers can be prepared to prevent a potential accident.

Skateboarders and premises liability

Residential and commercial property owners in Illinois and elsewhere around the country generally get annoyed when skateboarders show up unannounced and uninvited in their spaces, and for good reason. Premises liability is a legal concept that holds both private homeowners and public business operators responsible for any injuries that occur on their property, especially if they were preventable.

Although some people skateboard as a way of getting around, there are many who are attracted to the extreme and dangerous side of the activity and always looking for the next obstacle to conquer. Skateboarders attempting new tricks have damaged a lot of structures in Martinsville, Virginia, including benches, cement structures and handrails. The city has implemented an ordinance banning anyone who is at least 14 years old from skateboarding on sidewalks.

Personal injury and self-driving vehicles

Attorneys and those interested in personal injury matters in Illinois have plenty to speculate about as self-driving cars continue to move further from theory and closer to reality. Data and personal experiences from driverless prototype vehicles have revealed many possibilities when it comes to the impact that autonomous cars might have on personal injury claims.

Driverless vehicles are a welcome innovation because they could drastically improve roadway safety as the software is not subject to issues like distracted or drunk driving. When an inebriated or preoccupied driver causes a crash, an injured victim may seek compensation from him or her. If an accident occurs with a self-driving car, automobile manufacturers or the software companies that created the autonomous technology might face liability suits instead. This could cause an increase in products liability claims.

NSC figures reveal disturbing rise in traffic accident fatalities

Motor vehicle accident fatalities around the country have reached levels not seen in almost a decade according to data released on Feb. 15 by the National Traffic Council. The group reports that 40,200 road users, including many in Illinois, lost their lives in 2016, which represents a 6 percent increase over the 2015 fatality figures and a worrying 14 percent increase over the number killed in 2014. The last time more than 40,000 Americans died on the nation's roads was in 2007.

The increase in 2015 accident deaths was put down to higher traffic levels caused by falling gas prices and a thriving economy, but the NSC says that the 3 percent increase in traffic volume observed in 2016 cannot fully explain a 6 percent surge in motor vehicle accident fatalities. The ever-growing number of motorists who use their cellphones while behind the wheel could explain some of this discrepancy, and the NSC has called for a complete ban on the use of these devices by drivers to address this problem.

Trump administration delays truck driver training rule

In response to an order by President Trump, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration has officially announced the delay of the Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Vehicle Operators rule. The rule was scheduled to take effect Feb. 6 in Illinois and nationwide. It was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 8.

The entry-level driver training rule would set a core classroom curriculum for commercial driver's license trainees. Behind-the-wheel training is also required, but no minimum amount of time was prescribed, which was a point of contention for some trucking industry organizations. The rule also calls for the establishment of a national registry of certified CDL trainers. All individuals training for a CDL must be instructed by one of those listed in the registry.

3 reasons to get an attorney for your DUI case

Many people think it is not worth the cost to hire a lawyer to defend them from DUI charges. They tend to mistakenly suppose that these are fairly minor cases, especially if it is the first time they have been charged. It also is often commonly believed that, if the breath test or blood test shows an illegally elevated blood alcohol level, there is no point in fighting the charges anyway.

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