11916What is the true purpose of a red light enforcement camera? Well, it may depend on who you ask. Though the publicly stated position is to limit the number of vehicles running red lights and therefore reduce the number of red light car accidents, many drivers feel that the motives may be less altruistic by local governments.

Some in Chicago have been very vocal about their views on red light cameras, stating that the cameras are designed to raise revenue through the issuance of tickets and not designed to improve safety. However, new information released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) may dispute this widely held belief as the research concludes that use of red lights is saving lives.

According to IIHS, red light camera programs in 79 large U.S. cities are believed to have saved nearly 1,300 through 2014 at a time when car accidents continue to be one of the major causes of unintentional death in America.

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An event 108 years in the making is about to take the City of Chicago by storm. The Chicago Cubs, the beloved North Side franchise that has been described as “long suffering” for decades, won the World Series this week and will be bringing the celebration back to the city today. Beginning around 10:00 a.m., a parade will kick off from Wrigley Field and will wind its way south to its terminus at Grant Park, allowing fans to grab a view of the players and the World Series trophy along the way. Chicago officials expect crowds for the parade to be massive and some have estimated that well over one million participants may be lining the roadways.

Today’s parade will be a little different from similar parades celebrating the victories of the Chicago Blackhawks. A major difference is that the entire parade route has not been released by city officials but rather three main areas have been declared as prime viewing spots for the parade and fans are being asked to watch from one of those areas. They are Addison Street from Sheffield Avenue to Pine Grove Avenue, North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Ohio Street, and Columbus Drive from Monroe Street to Balbo Avenue.

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train tracksMetra trains serve a vital role for tens of thousands of people who live in the Chicago suburbs but commute to the city for work. They are also a convenient means of transportation for those who live in the city and commute outside of the city’s limits or for those who occasionally travel between Chicago and its outskirts. When thinking about the congestion that plagues the local expressways, it is an easy decision for many to use a Metra train instead of trying to drive themselves.

However, not everything associated with Metra transit is positive and at times, those in Illinois are left to wonder how the positives and the negatives compare. While the availability of public transportation is a huge benefit, the downside of train accidents and train-related injuries cannot be avoided. Far too often, another train crash between a Metra vehicle and a passenger car makes news and more often than not, those in the passenger car suffer from harm or even the loss of their lives.

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HalloweenFor thousands of children in Illinois, Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year. Many kids are excitedly finishing a jack-o-lantern or putting the final touches on their costumes. Others will be having fun at school celebrations or in their neighborhoods tonight. While Halloween is and should be seen as a fun time for kids to enjoy, parents should be aware of some of the more common threats to their young children so that injuries to children and minors can be prevented in Chicago.

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619More and more people in the Chicago area are ditching traditional forms of transportation and opting to grab an Uber instead. Uber, a rideshare company based on the west coast, allows those who want to catch a ride to request one via an app, enabling a car or SUV to pick up the rider at the rider’s specified location. Unlike a city bus which follows a specific route, an Uber car can travel anywhere in an approved service area. And unlike a taxi cab which may be difficult to find, an Uber vehicle literally comes to the place where a rider needs it to be within a specified time frame. For many, long gone are the days when they waited on a corner in the rain, trying to grab a ride to make it to work or school on time.

However, as the number of Uber rides and passengers continue to swell in Illinois, so do the number of Uber car accidents that result. Though some of these are minor, many have turned serious and caused injuries to the drivers and passengers involved, leading the victims to wonder where they stand legally and what options they have to get help if a crash affects their lives.

Passengers who were riding in an Uber car at the time of a collision may face a more complicated path to help than those involved in car accidents not involving such a major corporation. First, the victims will need to determine who is legally liable for the crash and whether more than one entity bears the blame. Typically, the driver of an Uber or another driver in another car will have made a mistake or error, leading to the impact between vehicles. However, in other situations, faulty mechanical work, a poorly designed car, negligent maintenance of a road or intersection, or even inclement weather may be blamed for an accident.

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9315.jpgWorkers in Chicago often take on tasks without a second thought. They show up on time, do their job, and then go home, all to support themselves and their families. And in exchange for their efforts, these workers are compensated with wages and in some cases additional benefits by their employers which make the time spent on the job worthwhile.

But what happens when something goes wrong at the workplace? This is a scenario that construction workers in Chicago know all too well as there are numerous incidents on construction sites each year involving employees. Often, those incidents result in injuries to the workers who are involved or to others who may be on the site at the time, potentially leading to the need for medical treatment and time missed from work.
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91815%282%29.jpgOne of the biggest causes of injuries for those in Chicago each year continues to be car accidents and other traffic incidents that occur on local roads and expressways. In fact, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported that 285,477 such traffic crashes happened in the state in 2013 alone. Of those, the official statistics report that 21.4 percent resulted in injuries to at least one person involved.

The percentage allocated to injury accidents likely is low, though, because it is based upon the self reports of victims immediately after they are involved in a collision. Typically, vehicles collided and a law enforcement official is sent to respond to the scene. That officer will ask the drivers and passengers involved if they are hurt and in need of an ambulance if an ambulance has not already been called to the area. There is a tendency among accident victims to underplay their symptoms right after an impact because they are in shock and unsure exactly how they feel. Often, their minds have not slowed enough for them to process what happened to them and the adrenaline rushing through their veins may delay the onset of pain.
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102215.jpgThe laws in Illinois are designed to protect the safety of all who call the state home, yet when individuals ignore or violate the law, that safety can be jeopardized. One area that receives little attention but makes a massive impact on others is in the arena of automobile insurance. If you live in Illinois and you own a personal vehicle, you are required to carry insurance on that car that meets or exceeds state minimum levels. The purpose behind this mandatory insurance provision is to protect the innocent victims of car accidents who are hurt by enabling them to obtain financial compensation, a form of relief that can help victims get the medical treatment they need as well as provider payment for all of their other expenses.

Though the law applies to all drivers, the fact remains that every day, motorists without valid insurance drive in an around Chicago, posing a serious threat in the event they are involved in a crash. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reported that an estimated 13.3 percent of all motorists on Illinois roads in 2012 were uninsured, contrary to and in violation of state laws. Victims who are hurt by these uninsured drivers soon realize that there may be no insurance funds to provide for their damages, pay for their medical expenses, or even compensate them while they are forced to miss work.
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5316(2)Traffic safety does not just affect those who are driving on the roadways in Chicago and elsewhere in our country. Rather, anyone who is on, around, or near a public street may find themselves involved in an accident or other traffic-related incident simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Our city has a high number of and a high percentage of pedestrian foot traffic when compared to other forms of transit particularly in the downtown Loop and areas known for heavy commuting. This leads to countless interactions between pedestrians and cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, buses, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and others every day and an unfortunately number of pedestrian accidents annually.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 150,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms in 2013 for nonfatal injuries following a pedestrian crash and that an additional 4,735 pedestrians lost their lives in such incidents. On average, this means that more than 410 people were hurt every day while walking and that someone died approximately every two hours in that year alone.

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10816There is a fallacy among drivers that is widely held in Chicago: drivers tend to believe they are better and more skilled than other motorists on the road. Regardless of how long they have been operating a car, where they learned and how they learned to drive, whether they have been cited for illegal conduct or caused a collision in the past, or even whether they have had subsequent training since an initial driver’s education program, the majority of motorists describe their skills as “better than average” when surveyed.

In fact, many Illinois drivers have the educational basis to be very effective and safe on the roadways but in practice, these drivers often ignore what they consider to be good advice for others. A typical example involves texting while driving or other distracted behaviors while behind the wheel. A survey from last year found that 98 percent of adult drivers stated that texting while driving was unsafe yet shockingly, 49 percent of surveyed drivers admitted to texting while driving.

This “do as I say, not as I do” approach is not only ignorant but it can be lethal. Experts have concluded that using a cell phone increases the risks of a car accident by 400 percent and that many of these collisions result in injuries or death to those involved.

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