The dangers associated with drinking and driving are among some of the most well-known driving facts around the nation. Despite this widespread knowledge, an Illinois car crash attorney may be inundated with claims involving inebriated motorists each year. Although not an isolated incident, a recent fatal accident in Illinois highlights just why driving under the influence is so deadly for motorists and all those around them.
About the accident
According to CBS Chicago, a Bridgeview, IL man was recently driving his pickup truck on I-80 in the early morning when he failed to stop in time to avoid colliding with a semi-truck parked on the shoulder of the interstate. The impact caused the truck to rebound into active traffic lanes where it crashed into another motorists driving a sedan. All three drivers were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but the pickup driver’s passenger was not so lucky. The 26-year-old man from Bridgeview was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of his injuries. The pickup truck driver was charged with aggravated DUI for causing the fatal accident.
An ongoing problem
The statistics associated with drunk driving should not shock an Illinois car crash attorney. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Illinois experienced 321 drunk driving fatalities in 2012, which comprises 34 percent of all traffic deaths in the state that year. Nationwide, motorists fared only slightly better. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10,322 people died in alcohol-related car accidents in 2012, which accounts for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the nation.
Additionally, the CDC reports that nearly 30 people die each day in the U.S. due to accidents caused by drinking and driving, roughly one every 51 minutes. Even with this staggeringly high number of accidents and fatalities, motorists continue to act negligently by getting behind the wheel of a car while inebriated. In a 2010 survey, individuals reported 112 million episodes of drunk driving. However, these episodes only led to 1.4 million DUI arrests that year, showing that only 1 percent of impaired drivers are actually caught and face criminal repercussions for their actions.
Those most at risk
Not everyone has an even likelihood of being involved in an alcohol-related accident. The CDC reports that young people with all blood alcohol levels are at an increased risk of having an accident than for older individuals. Roughly 32 percent of accidents with drivers who had blood alcohol content levels greater than 0.08 percent in 2012 involved youths between the ages of 21 and 24. As a person ages, their likelihood of being in an alcohol-related crash goes down.
No matter their age or the circumstances, all individuals who have been involved in a DUI accident should contact an Illinois car crash attorney for assistance with their matter. They have the tools and experience necessary to help families heal and receive the compensation that they need.
Families who place their elderly loved ones in a nursing home simply want them to receive the best possible care. All too often, however, these elderly patients are left in terrible circumstances in which their health care workers fail to provide for even their most basic needs. In some shocking cases common to any Illinois nursing home abuse attorney, families are learning that their loved ones are being given dangerous medications that they do not need. According to the American Association of Retired People, many nursing homes give antipsychotics to a large percentage of their patients in order to chemically subdue them and make them easier to handle.
The AARP reports that a Ventura, CA family recently lost a family member due to the dangerous practice of administering unnecessary antipsychotics. The elderly matriarch broke her pelvis and was sent to the nursing home for rehabilitation. At the time she entered the home, she only took medication to treat her cholesterol, blood pressure, and an inhaler to treat pulmonary disease. She could also eat, walk and dress herself unassisted. Eighteen days later, when the 79-year-old was discharged from the facility, her son said she was unrecognizable. She could no longer walk, her speech was garbled, and she sat slumped in her wheelchair and chewed on her hand. A short time later, the woman was dead.
The woman’s son and A Ventura County Superior Court judge determined that she received medication that neither she nor her family had authorized, including antipsychotics. The family received a large settlement for the blatant negligence and unjustified loss of their mother with the help of an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney.
Not an isolated incidence
According to the AARP, what happened in Ventura happens all over the nation every day. They report that as many as 20 percent of nursing homes regularly give patients unprescribed antipsychotics. The Office of the Inspector General of Health and Human Services also found that 14 percent of residents at nursing homes had Medicare claims for antipsychotics while only 17 percent of those claims were actually for the treatment of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, which the National Institute of Mental Health describes as their only approved use.
These intentional medication errors often have alarming side effects for the elderly, including dizziness, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, skin rashes ad blurred vision. Elderly patients who receive the drugs are twice as likely to develop pneumonia, three times more likely to have a stroke and two times as likely to die.
Warnings from the FDA
The FDA has issued a black box warning through a Public Health Advisory in which it states that these drugs are not to be used on elderly patients with dementia as a form of behavioral control due to the potentially dangerous side effects. However, despite the known risks it is common for an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney to see many of these cases every year.
Illinois motorists put a lot of trust in the other drivers with whom they share the roads on a daily basis. This trust extends to those who drive large commercial trucks. However, a new study performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may indicate that the trust motorists extend to commercial rig drivers may be misplaced due to the inadequate training these drivers receive at programs they enter prior to licensure.
In order to receive a license to become a commercial motor vehicle driver, truckers must first pass a test to prove their competency and ability. While testing and issuing commercial drivers licenses are federally regulated, the training a driver receives prior to testing is not. Because of this, many drivers receive instruction geared more toward passing the CDL test, and less on how to safely operate their truck.
The FMCSA study examined how different truck driving programs teach or fail to teach new drivers how to safely operate their trucks. Researchers evaluated those who underwent the following training:
Drivers were tested at the DMV prior to receiving their CDL, on the road at the Delaware Technical and Community College testing facility, as well as in a simulator.
The study found that there is no significant difference between conventional and simulator-trained safety scores, while both types of training yielded higher scores than found in those who had undergone informal or CDL-focused training. In many instances, informally-trained drivers performed better than those from CDL-focused programs. This indicates that many drivers who undergo testing-specific training are improperly prepared for the demands of the trucking industry and are not properly trained in how to be a safe driver.
According to the FMCSA, this has led to “driver finishing” programs at some carrier companies, geared toward teaching new CDL holders and new employees how to actually drive their rigs and reduce distractive behaviors. Although these programs are common, not all companies use them, so many truckers enter the roadways with inadequate safety training. This lack of training may be a significant cause of the large number of truck accidents that occur every year. In 2012, these accidents killed nearly 4,000 and injured another 104,000 people.
Motorists in Illinois are well aware of the different types of behaviors that aggressive drivers exhibit on a daily basis. Drivers often exhibit many of the same aggressive driving behaviors in an attempt to get where they are going just a little bit faster than everyone else. According to the Washington D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, motorists should be aware of these top five aggressive behaviors in order to prevent accidents or violence.
When drivers fail to maintain a safe distance between their car and the car in front of them, they are guilty of tailgating. Angry drivers often do this in an attempt to get the lead car to speed up, but if for any reason that car has to suddenly brake, a terrible car accident is likely to occur.
2. Blocking lanes
When some drivers become upset, they will deliberately block the passing lane and prevent other drivers from overtaking them. This retaliatory driving can create frustration, confusion and an unsafe environment for all those around them.
Weaving in and out of traffic on the roadways is one of the most common forms of aggressive driving as well as one of the most dangerous. Some drivers do this when they are in a hurry while others do it merely for excitement. This practice is particularly dangerous because drivers can easily miscalculate distances and hit the vehicles they are trying to pass.
4. Improper headlight use
Nighttime drivers will sometimes use their headlights in retaliation against other drivers, temporarily blinding them or disrupting their vision.
5. Improper use of the horn
The car horn is used to alert other drivers of danger. However, many angry motorists use it to annoy others or to demonstrate their frustration. This in turn leads to more frustration for all motorists around, which takes peoples’ attention away from where it should be focused: the roads.
Potentially destructive and dangerous
While aggressive driving usually results in little more than frustration and anger, it can lead to many potentially dangerous situations. In Charlotte, North Carolina, WSOCTV reports that two vehicles were engaging in retaliatory driving tactics when police identified one of the cars as stolen. When the officer attempted to stop the car, the driver lost control and crashed into a brick home. The other vehicle sped on. However that driver also lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a vacant unit in a nearby apartment complex. Although no one was hurt in these accidents, devastating fatalities could have easily occurred.
Due to the erratic driving that aggressive drivers employ, anyone can be hurt at any time. Injured victims can contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to learn their rights on the roadway and begin the claims process.