According to FOX 32 News in Chicago, the sheriff’s department in Will County is using an Illinois state law to seize the vehicles of people arrested multiple times while driving under the influence. An Article 36 seizure allows law enforcement to confiscate the vehicle of a driver arrested for DUI while driving on a revoked or suspended license from a prior DUI conviction.
Several of these vehicles have been appropriated for use by the department, with a message painted on the rear that states, “This vehicle was seized from a drunk driver.” Officials hope to make it clear that the price for driving under the influence is high.
Alcohol a major factor in fatal crashes
Reports from AAA state that 1.5 million people are arrested each year across the country for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Statistics from the National Conference of State Legislators state that 10,076 people died in 2013 in crashes where alcohol was a factor. That number amounts to 31 percent of all deaths from motor vehicle accidents that year. An attorney who works with car accident victims in Illinois would be aware that state numbers mirror the national data. The 2015 DUI Fact Book, published by the State of Illinois, reports the following regional information from 2013:
First offenders are subject to a six-month suspension of their driving privileges, considerably higher than the 90-day national minimum. By law, driving while under this suspension could result in the loss of the vehicle.
A multi-component strategy
The state employs other stringent penalties for DUI convictions, such as mandatory ignition interlocks after a first offense. Sobriety checkpoints are a legal practice in Illinois by which law enforcement may stop a driver to check for intoxication. This practice can combine with Article 36 to prevent fatal crashes. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a multi-component crash prevention strategy such as this allows law enforcement to make it even more difficult for repeat offenders to cause injury or death on the road. Any Illinois attorney concerned with car accidents understands the need for law enforcement to find ways to tighten the reins on repeat offenders.
Seek professional counsel
Motor vehicle safety laws are subject to continual change. If you are a victim of a car accident in Illinois, an attorney may be able to help you understand the situation and receive compensation for your losses.
Illinois state law mandates that motor vehicles stop for pedestrians, but drivers in and around Chicago don’t do it. The research to support this finding comes from Active Transportation Alliance, an automobile-alterative advocacy organization. The study suggests that two main reasons for driver non-compliance are ignorance and lack of law enforcement.
Drivers need cues
The state law that requires drivers to stop when a pedestrian enters a crosswalk went into effect in 2010. The observational study revealed about 18 percent compliance from drivers at standard painted crosswalks, and only five percent at unmarked crosswalks. In Chicago, an attorney who represents pedestrians knows that a crosswalk is defined as the place where a sidewalk meets a street. Painted markings are not essential. There were no traffic lights or stop signs at any of the 52 locations used for the study. Driver compliance rose to 61 percent at crosswalks that had painted markings along with additional safety components. Extra safety features included the following:
Drivers in the lane nearest the sidewalk responded better to the visual cues than drivers in the far lane.
The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that of the over 4,700 crashes involving pedestrians in the state in 2012, 130 resulted in fatalities. IDOT further reports that 84 percent of the incidents and 69 percent of pedestrian deaths happened in Chicago. A Chicago attorney familiar with pedestrian accidents may know that in 2012, fatalities for people on foot in the city made up over 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths. While the study by the Active Transportation Alliance provides no strict scientific data, it underscores IDOT data from 2009 that show that pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to injury and death from motor vehicle crashes.
Chicago law enforcement are trying to address the issue. The department plans regular enforcement stings to catch drivers who ignore or are unaware of the law that vehicles must stop, not simply yield to, pedestrians. According to the Chicago Tribune, officers handed out upwards of 1,200 tickets in 2014 for endangering pedestrians by failure to stop at a crosswalk. City officials say they would like to cut pedestrian-related incidences by half over the next five years, and work toward none in the five years after that.
Continue to use caution
Walkers, cyclists and other non-drivers still face plenty of challenges on urban streets. If you have been injured in an incident involving a motor vehicle, a Chicago attorney who works with pedestrians may be able to help recover your losses.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently made the regulation official: in the next two years, electronic stability control systems will be required as standard equipment for all tractor trailer trucks in Illinois and across the country. ESC helps vehicles avoid rollovers and crashes in dangerous situations by keeping it traveling in one direction, and by reducing engine speed. The technology has been in use in cars and small trucks since 2012.
Technology that saves lives
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, rollovers were responsible for 49 percent of single occupant truck accident deaths in 2013. A lawyer familiar with truck accident statistics may know that of all large truck occupant fatalities in that year, 62 percent occurred in single vehicle accidents. Stability systems use automatic braking controlled by computer to correct under steering or over steering that can contribute to loss of control and rollovers. NHTSA anticipates that the new regulation may prevent 1,700 or more rollover accidents annually. That could translate to 649 fewer injuries, and 49 fewer deaths per year.
Regulation designed to speed up the process
The IIHS reported that 34 percent of tractor trailers and 80 percent of new buses would probably employ ESC systems by 2018 without the ruling. With the regulation in place earlier, the IIHS states that ESC systems may prevent up to 50 percent of the untripped rollovers that would likely occur without the technology. Facts relating to the new rule include the following:
A lawyer who works with truck accident victims would be aware of the benefits of implementing ESC systems sooner rather than later.
Working toward safer highways
In an unfortunate coincidence, USA Today reported that the NHTSA announced the new ESC systems ruling on the same day that a tractor trailer and a tour bus crashed in Pennsylvania, killing three. While it is unknown whether the technology would have prevented any of the injuries or deaths from the crash, the story draws attention to ongoing concerns regarding traffic safety and tractor trailers on U.S. roads.
Get qualified legal advice
Motor vehicle crashes can be traumatic and confusing. A victim may experience injury, loss of property and even death. A lawyer who understands truck accidents may be able to help you recover losses if you have been in a truck or car accident.
With the Illinois Department of Transportation reporting 285,477 crashes on Illinois roadways in 2013, state motorists are increasingly seeking new methods of improving safety behind the wheel. Among the more popular innovations in recent years are driver assistance systems. A car accident lawyer in Champaign knows these are advanced technological devices designed to reduce one’s likelihood of a collision.
According to AutoTrader, driver assistance systems typically fall into one of two categories. Collision warning systems are those that alert a driver of impending obstructions in the roadway using audible noises or visual cues. It is then up to the driver to heed these warnings and hit the brakes or steer out of harm’s way. Collision avoidance systems essentially take control of the car when obstacles appear ahead if the driver fails to do so, and automatically apply the brakes on the driver’s behalf.
In order to determine the effectiveness of these systems as well as their ease-of-use, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety created a ranking scale. All systems assessed were given a ranking of Basic, Advanced or Superior based on the features they include and how effective they are. To be eligible for a rating by IIHS, all reviewed crash avoidance systems had to be endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
While the NHTSA endorsement alone is enough to warrant a Basic rating, driver assistance systems must have both collision warning and collision avoidance features to be eligible for an Advanced ranking. Furthermore, the vehicle with the system installed must effectively avoid a crash or reduce traveling speed by five mph in one of two tests performed at 12 mph and 25 mph. To be considered Superior, a car accident lawyer in Champaign knows the system must considerably reduce driving speed after undergoing both tests.
Out of 74 systems ranked using the IIHS system, only seven were given a Superior ranking.
While the ranking system designed by IIHS suggests that some crash avoidance systems can indeed be effective, the organization freely admits they are not without limitations. For example, collision warning systems only alert the driver of impending obstacles. If the driver does not heed the warning, the system isn’t going to help.
Technological limitations exist as well. Some systems utilize sensors to pick up lane markings, and these sensors may not work effectively on snow-covered roads or those that aren’t particularly well marked. Sensors may also fail in inclement weather or in conditions where minimal light is present. A car accident lawyer in Champaign is aware that some users also find these systems annoying or irritating and disable them due to these sentiments.
Thus far, studies of crash avoidance systems suggest that while the technology is improving, it still has a long way to go.