Illinois lawmakers considering expanded use of speed cameras

In the United States in 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that vehicle accidents involving speeding cost $210 billion in economic and societal harm. Although speed-related crashes cause serious injury and death across the country, Illinois is one of seven states that limit the use of speed cameras. Twelve other states prohibit their use. Speed cameras sense and discourage motorists from exceeding the speed limit with automated enforcement technology. Representatives in Illinois want to install speed cameras in communities smaller than the current minimum of one million people. Chicago is the only city in the state that meets the current criteria.

Support for the installation of speed cameras

Belleville Representative Jay Hoffman is the state lawmaker who introduced the legislation. Many law enforcement officials agree that enacting this law uniformly across the state would promote safety by reducing speed-related car accidents in problem areas, particularly school zones. Hillsdale Representative Mike Smiddy agrees that speed cameras are necessary to protect children in school zones.

Speed-related accidents cause nearly half of fatal crashes in Illinois

According to United States census statistics, 911 fatalities occurred in Illinois in 2009 because of speed-related accidents. Exceeding the posted speed limit is a factor in more than 40 percent of the fatal crashes in Illinois. In a recent case, an 18-year-old girl died in a crash on her way home from work. Local law enforcement said the accident appeared to be speed related because there was not another car involved in the accident, and toxicology reports indicated that alcohol was not involved.

Motorists believe speed cameras violate their rights

While legislators and law enforcement officers and numerous reports by various agencies maintain that automated enforcement technology such as speed cameras have the potential to make the roads safer, motorists do not agree. Many have argued that using cameras to enforce traffic laws has been used as a revenue generator for private agencies, or that technology used to record infractions violate individual rights to privacy.

Lawmakers addressed these concerns more than a decade ago, and set mandates for the use of revenue garnered from tickets issued from evidence provided by speed cameras. Regarding the assertion that motorists’ privacy rights have been violated, courts have ruled that, because driving a vehicle takes place in public and is a privilege not guaranteed for everyone, privacy while operating the vehicle is not protected by the Constitution.

Individuals injured in a speed-related accident should seek legal counsel for compensation due to a driver’s negligence or reckless driving.

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Patients may not notice potentially fatal retained sponges

An operation always has a measure of risk involved. This risk includes complications during the procedure and the possibility of surgical errors, which puts patients’ lives in danger. In Chicago and throughout the United States, medical malpractice causes numerous hardships for patients who are impacted.

During a typical procedure, dozens of surgical sponges are placed inside of a patient’s body to soak up fluids. Upon conclusion of the operation, they resemble surrounding tissue, which creates a challenge for surgical staff who depend on manual counting methods to remove all of the sponges. Because these methods are prone to human error, many medical malpractice cases involve retained surgical sponge mistakes.

Identifying the error

According to an article in USA Today, medical errors involving surgical sponge retention often take place over a dozen times per day throughout the country. These errors are referred to as never-events because they are simply not supposed to happen. Government statistics do not reveal the accurate prevalence of retained sponges, but it is believed that they affect thousands of people each year. When doctors leave these sponges in patients, the patients could remain unaware of their presence for months, or even years.

After leaving an Alabama hospital in 2010, one woman suffered from complications following a cesarean section. Her stomach grew over the next several weeks and her bowels stopped functioning altogether. Her doctor told her to go to the emergency room right away.

The consequences of retained sponges

X-rays revealed that the woman had a large surgical sponge in her abdomen, prompting an emergency surgery and a lengthy hospital stay. For this woman, her symptoms appeared relatively quickly but this is not always the case. People who struggle with retained sponges (whether they are aware of it or not) may experience a variety of health problems, such as:

  • A considerable amount of pain
  • Disruptions to their digestive system
  • Infections
  • Fever
  • The need for additional surgery
  • Psychological and emotional problems

Some patients are unable to survive the serious setbacks that retained sponges cause while others may struggle with these setbacks for the rest of their lives. One man in Florida will always have to wear a waste pouch due to an infection caused by retained surgical sponges and the removal of part of his intestine.

Other complications can also arise from retained surgical sponge errors, especially financial difficulties. Hospitalizations for retained sponges typically cost over $60,000, according to Medicare and this can be a large burden for victims and their families to bear. If someone is pursuing medical malpractice damages, they should thoroughly evaluate the details of their situation with an experienced attorney.

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