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Central Illinois Law Blog

Illinois crash kills woman and injures her 6 children

Media outlets in Illinois have reported that an accident in Monroe County on the afternoon of Feb. 27 claimed the life of a 41-year-old woman and injured her six children. Reports indicate that the woman's SUV was struck by a dump truck as it crossed the intersection of Illinois State Road 3 and Veterans Parkway at approximately 12:30 p.m. While some accounts of the accident suggest that the 86-year-old driver of the dump truck may have run a red light, other reports state that his vehicle left skid marks on the roadway about 50 yards from the scene of the crash.

An Illinois State Police accident investigation team was dispatched to the scene and used a drone to provide aerial footage of the intersection. However, reports indicate that preliminary investigations failed to reveal the cause of the crash. First responders initially intended to transport the six injured children to St. Louis Children's Hospital by air, but ambulances were called in when it was learned that all available helicopters were some distance away.

Study connects increased accident rate with 4/20 holiday

As recreational and medical marijuana use has been legalized in several states, Illinois motorists should be aware that using marijuana can have an impact on their ability to drive safely. In fact, a study showed that increased use of marijuana on April 20, the drug's self-proclaimed holiday, has been linked to a slight increase in the number of fatal car accidents.

For the study, researchers used data from fatal car accidents during the period of 1992 through 2016. The year 1992 was chosen as this was shortly after 4/20 became a popular marijuana holiday. They found that there was an increased risk in most states across the nation, with an additional 142 driver fatalities linked to the 4/20 holiday.

Distractions may be to blame for rise in traffic deaths

Distracted driving, according to some experts, is behind the increase in traffic deaths that has been affecting Illinois and the rest of the U.S. Smartphone use is a major factor in distracted driving; a Consumer Reports survey of licensed drivers who own smartphones showed that 52 percent of them admitted to using their devices while behind the wheel. From texts and emails to music and internet, smartphones offer plenty to distract people.

Smartphone and tech companies have been incorporating safety features to keep people safe, though they are all entirely voluntary. For example, Apple's latest operating system comes with an optional mode blocking all incoming calls and texts, and Androids and iPhones can send automatic replies when users are busy.

Factors that can impact Breathalyzer accuracy

Even if it is your first time facing a drinking-and-driving charge in Illinois, you can still expect considerable penalties with a conviction. Therefore, if you have any reason to suspect the results of your Breathalyzer test are anything other than completely accurate, you would be wise to investigate further.

With proper calibration, maintenance and administration, Breathalyzers, or devices used to assess your degree of alcohol impairment, are often accurate. However, there are a number of conditions and environmental factors that can cause these devices to produce false results.

How to discourage speeding, according to the NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board has shown that speeding is the cause behind the increase in traffic deaths in the U.S. It has released a report showing how 31 percent of traffic deaths between 2005 and 2014 involved speeding. This comes out to 112,580 deaths, slightly less than the number of DUI-related fatalities during that same period. Drivers in Illinois will want to know what the NTSB proposes as ways to discourage speeding.

The first proposal is to create more severe punishments for speeding so that they equate to those of drunk driving. The NTSB notes that speeding does not have a cultural stigma surrounding it the same way that DUI or driving without a seat belt does, and that raising public awareness about the dangers may reduce traffic deaths. Other recommendations include the use of enforcement tools like speeding cameras and a change in speed limits so that they match those speeds with the lowest crash involvement rates.

How to know who is liable in an Uber accident

When a person gets into a car accident, it may be possible to hold the driver who caused the crash liable for damages. However, if an Uber driver causes the accident, there may be some question as to who is actually liable. In the event that an Illinois resident or anyone else gets into an accident caused by an Uber driver, the driver is generally the liable party.

If a driver gets into an accident when a passenger is in that vehicle, a $1 million liability policy may be in place. In such a scenario, the injured party could file a lawsuit against the driver and then file a claim with the insurance company. Lyft also has a similar policy in place should a driver get into an accident. However, the policy may not be in place if the accident happens when a driver is using an Uber vehicle for personal reasons.

Types and causes of accidents

Many car accidents in Illinois and other states occur as a result of a driver's negligent actions or the driver losing control of the vehicle. There are various types of accidents that can result in different injuries or even death. Details have been released after a study by researchers at the University of Michigan that give a better indication of the anatomy of a car accident.

One type of accident involves hitting someone on accident when rolling through a red light to turn right. This is an accident that involves more pedestrians getting hit than other types. A solution is to come to a complete stop, look both ways multiple times and turn slowly.

Americans encouraged to promote impaired driving awareness

While most people in Illinois and the rest of the U.S. know that impaired driving can be a factor in car accidents, they may not know how serious the problem is. Approximately 28 percent of traffic fatalities in 2016 were caused by alcohol-impaired drivers, and the death toll comes to more than 10,000 people. Furthermore, a 2012 survey revealed that 4.2 million adults in America had driven under the influence at least once within 30 days.

On average, there is one fatality every 50 minutes due to impaired driving in America. In an effort to raise awareness of impaired driving and to prevent it from occurring when possible, the White House released a proclamation designating December 2017 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

Study links Pokémon Go with increase in car crashes

Illinois residents probably remember when Pokémon Go was launched back in July 2016 and how it led to reports of gamers injuring themselves and others because they were so immersed in the game. The game, not surprisingly, also had an impact on car crash rates across the U.S., as one study made by two Purdue University professors reveals.

The authors reviewed the nearly 12,000 crash reports made in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, between the few months preceding the launch of Pokémon Go and the few months following it. They also took into account how many accidents occurred in intersections that are within 100 meters of a Pokéstop, where players go to obtain in-game items. 26.5 percent more accidents occurred at these intersections once the game was launched and the Pokéstops came into being.

Medication could help ADHD patients avoid car accidents

Illinois drivers diagnosed with ADHD may be at increased risk for a car crash if they are not taking medication for the disorder, according to a study. The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry in May 2017.

ADHD, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopment condition that can cause suffers to have difficulty paying attention. Other symptoms could include impulse control issues and hyperactivity. According to experts, ADHD has the potential to inhibit safe driving techniques, such as paying attention to the road. In fact, previous research has shown that ADHD sufferers are involved in more car accidents than drivers who do not have the disorder.

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