Threats are everywhere in our modern society. It is a sad reality that you can become the victim of negligence at any time, whether it takes the form of a car accident, slip-and-fall incident, or even on-the-job work injury. However, not everyone is at the same risk for the same types of injuries and those who reside in Illinois may be surprised to know that the odds they will be involved in a train accident may be higher than some of their friends living in other states.

Train traffic is high, especially in the Chicago area where commuter trains and commercial trains fight for space at the same terminals. This means that the trains must cross paths with one another on the rails and also must cross paths with passenger vehicles at designated grade crossings. Trains also encounter pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists with some regularity at these groups must cross the same areas though should not do so at the same time.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Illinois experienced 140 train collisions in 2015, making it the state with the third highest number of train accidents. Those collisions resulted in 24 deaths and 79 injuries in the same year which means that these incidents are affecting far more than just the trains themselves. Rather, victims and their loved ones, family members, friends, and coworkers all feel the fallout from train accidents in Illinois. Some losses are so great that victims will never fully recover.

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It is basic human instinct to try and control the circumstances surrounding our daily lives and that often stretches to our driving habits. Most motorists will claim that they operate their cars in a reasonable and safe manner, desiring to keep themselves and others near them safe and accident-free. However, a deeper look into Chicago’s driving scene reveals that numerous drivers speed, tailgate, exhibit signs of road rage, weave in and out of traffic, and even drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol on an occasional basis. With so many threatening and reckless factors contributing to roadways safety, it may be surprising just how many people avoid a car accident daily.

Any type of traffic accident can be serious but a rollover collision always poses a significant threat to personal safety. In fact, rollovers are estimated to make up about three percent of all collisions nationwide but they are involved in about 30 percent of deaths among those in a passenger vehicle. The most troubling aspect of a rollover crash is that so many can be prevented when you realize that nearly half of rollover incidents involve one or more drivers who have enough alcohol in their systems to make them impaired.

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Chicago’s streets are crowded with all types of traffic. From pedestrians to bicyclists to trucks, vans, and SUVs, it is rare to find an empty street in downtown. If you move to other areas of Illinois, you may find anything from school buses to motorcycles or even farm equipment using the roads on occasion. So what duties do you owe to others if you are driving on a road?

At the end of the day, it is up to every motorist to know their duties and responsibilities when driving and to abide by those duties. Failing to do so can lead to multiple consequences including traffic tickets, criminal charges, fines, fees, the loss of a license, or even legal liability for any harm that results.

Bicyclists are a category of street user who legally can occupy the roadways just like a motor vehicle. They have the right to ride where and when they choose unless an area is otherwise marked. This means that a bicycle can ride in a marked bicycle lane where one is present or otherwise can occupy a lane of traffic like a car can, enabling that rider to move through Chicago with ease.

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What concerns you about the conduct of other drivers? Do you worry about people driving while using their cell phone? What about driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Are those who speed and dart in and out of traffic your primary concern? What about confused motorists who brake or stop in the middle of heavy traffic simply because they do not know where they are going?

Everyone has concerns about the actions of others and for good reason – your safety on an Illinois roadway depends in part upon your conduct and in part upon the conduct of others. But while speeding, failing to yield, and driving erratically are widely understood, few people realize how much of a threat truck driver fatigue poses to them and to those they love.

Truck driver fatigue accidents plague Chicago and the rest of our state just as they plague roads all across our country. These collision occur when the driver of a semi-truck or other large truck operate while they are tired or sleepy, limiting their ability to act in a reasonable and responsible manner and increasing the odds that they will be involved in a crash. It is hard to know exactly how many lives are affected by truck driver fatigue crashes annually but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that nearly 4,000 people die every year in large truck accidents and that driver fatigue is believed to be a leading cause in those crashes and the resulting deaths.

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What is the big deal about riding a bicycle in Chicago? If you already ride, you get it – Chicago is a fantastic city to see and travel by bicycle and one that becomes more bike-friendly as every year passes. If you do not ride a bicycle, you probably have noticed the surging ranks of cyclists on the streets, at our intersections, and around the Loop and wondered what is behind the sudden and significant increase. Perhaps you have even given some thought to riding yourself or allowing your children to ride a bicycle.

Biking in the city can be great if you take the proper precautions to make sure you ride safely. Experts agree that one of the best things you can do to stay injury-free in the event of a bicycle accident is to wear a proper, well-fitting bike helmet. With literally thousands of helmets to choose from, how do you know what helmet is best for you?

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As we move deeper into September and the autumn season, the temperatures and leaves will begin to fall. But before we can start enjoying hot cider and apple picking, Mother Nature has a few more weeks of summer heat in store for Chicago. These warmer temperatures increase the likelihood of tire blowouts which can not only be annoying to drivers but also a safety concern. Tire blowouts are incredibly dangerous as they can cause serious motor vehicle accidents which tend to lead to injuries to those involved.

Tire blowouts are more likely to occur when the weather is hot than they are when temperatures are mild. Warm temperatures make the surface of a road hot which can lead to increased friction between a tire and the road. This friction creates heat which puts greater stress on the tire’s components, increasing the odds that the tire will fail. Tires that are underinflated further struggle to accommodate the weight of the vehicle, causing the tires to become overloaded and increasing the friction they normally experience on the roadway.

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A typical motor vehicle accidents may involve two vehicles but some collisions can involve several vehicles. The more vehicles involved in a collision, the more likely it is that damage and injuries will be severe. Given the high volume of traffic in Chicago, multi-vehicle car accidents are very common.

Intersections by nature are a place where vehicles converge which is why multi-vehicle accidents are common in these locations. One distracted driver at a four way stop can cause an accident involving numerous cars just by failing to yield to the right-of-way. When intersections have unique designs, the possibility for multi-vehicle accidents increases. These unique designs are common with older intersections where three streets intersect instead of the typical two. If a driver is not paying attention, the driver can easily fail to see the third street and be unaware of incoming traffic.

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With schools across the city welcoming students back to the classroom, the number of children riding bikes will begin to increase. Chicago is considered one of the most bike friendly cities in the country, and many citizens use bicycles for transportation, including students. Students both in Chicago and in Illinois suburbs frequently ride bicycles to get to and from school.

Cycling for transportation is a healthy and fun option for students, but it is important for both parents and kids to do everything possible to remain safe. Here are some safety tips to help ensure you and children are safe this back to school season!

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For years, bicyclists have been able to share the roadway legally with motor vehicles in Illinois, allowing those who ride to do so in an efficient and often simple manner. There are so many riders in Chicago, for example, that the city has taken significant steps to increase rider safety by providing designated bicycle lanes, protected bike lanes, and even bike-specific traffic control signals.

However, a fatal bicycle accident last year had many questioning the legal standing of riders and wondering whether riders would ever be safe under the laws as they stood. In that incident, a man was riding a bicycle when an at-fault driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the cyclist causing a bike crash that turned fatal for the rider. Though the driver was ticketed for failing to yield, the ticket was dismissed in court when the presiding judge determined that the bicycle involved did not meet the definition of a “vehicle” under the law for the ticket to be valid.

In response, Illinois House Bill 5912 was introduce and approved by a vote of 164 to 1 in the House and Senate. In August, the bill was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner and is set to take effect on January 1, 2017. The new law makes it clear that bicyclists “shall be granted all of the rights” of automobile drivers when they are operating on roadways in the state and that means that their rights cannot be ignored by others.

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For thousands of kids in the Chicago area, today marks the first day of a new school year. Some are excited and looking forward to meeting their teachers and seeing their friends. Others are dreading the end of summer and the freedom they enjoyed when they did not have to attend class every day. Regardless, though, the Chicago landscape is transitioning today as kids move from a routine of flexibility to one of structure with school at its center.

If you are a parent of a school-aged child, it is a good idea to talk about pedestrian accidents, bicycle collisions, and other injuries to children and minors this week as they are more common in Illinois at the start of a school year. But realize that even if you are not a parent, back-to-school still affects you as the influx of children on city buses, trains, and streets will have an impact on your transit plans.

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