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The CDC defines distracted driving as any activity that involves visual, manual or cognitive distraction. In short, distracted driving refers to anything that takes a driver’s eyes or mind away from the road or anything that involves removing a driver’s hands from the wheel. Finding a song on the radio, checking a phone for directions, texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, searching for something in the glove compartment, and even talking to a passenger all count as distracted driving. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because a driver faces all three types of distraction. According to the CDC, in the 5 seconds that it takes to read or send a text, a driver going 55 mph would cover the length of a football field. In 5 seconds, so much can go wrong.

According to 2015 data, the latest results available from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed as a result of distracted driving, the most of any year on record. Of those victims, 67% were teenagers aged 16-19.

Car Accidents the Leading Cause of Death for Teens

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It sounds like something out of a movie about the future: millions of Americans sitting behind the wheel of a car, talking, texting, eating, reading, working, putting on makeup or doing one of many other activities, besides actually driving the car. Driverless cars, also referred to as robot cars or autonomous vehicles, are already permitted (under restricted conditions and times) to be on roadways in certain states.

The Government Accountability Organization (GAO) recently released a report that zoned in on the limited measures the government has taken to ensure the safety of driverless cars. The report discusses concerns held by many, including the results of a study that showed most Americans don’t want to be a passenger in a driverless car, nor do they want to be on the same roads and highways as someone else with this type of vehicle.

Software No Match for Human Instinct

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Let’s start with some facts about car accidents and smartphones in America:

  1. In the past two years, the number of pedestrians and cyclists struck and killed has increased by 22%
  2. In the past two years, the total number of FATAL car accidents has risen by 14%
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The latest quarterly report from the Safety Institute’s Vehicle Safety Watch List shows that Jeep’s 2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokee 4×4’s are holding onto the top 2 most unsafe car rankings.  According to death and injury reports submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s are plagued by power train issues. One of the primarily reported issues in 2014 and 2015 Jeeps is that the car has difficulty recognizing that it has been put into park. This has led to vehicle rollaways, causing crashes, injuries and death.

In June 2016, 27 year old actor Anton Yelchin, best known for his role in Star Trek, died after his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards onto him in his driveway.  The lawsuit describes how he was pinned underneath the car, suffering, until he died alone on his own property. His parents are suing Fiat Chrysler, Jeep’s parent company, for wrongful death, alleging that the faulty gear shift caused the car to roll and kill their son. Jeep had recalled over 1 million Grand Cherokees in April 2016 for the defect.

Taken directly from The Safety Institute’s latest report, below is the full list of the 15 vehicles to watch out for:

Rank This Period

Vehicle and Component

Component Definition

Notes
1 2015 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4×4
Power Train
Power Train Investigations,
and recall
2 2014 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4×4
Power Train
Power Train Investigations,
and recall
3

2007 CHEVROLET IMPALA
Electrical

Electrical No Investigations,
but recall
4

2013 DODGE DART
Foundation Brake

Foundation Brake Investigation,
and recall
5

2012 CHEVROLET IMPALA
Electrical

Electrical No Investigations,
but recall
6

2013 CHRYSLER 300
Power Train

Power Train Investigation,
and recalls
7

2008 CHEVROLET IMPALA
Electrical

Electrical No Investigations,
but recall
8

2009 TOYOTA CAMRY
Vehicle Speed Control

Vehicle Speed Control Investigations,
and recalls
9

2008 CHEVROLET COBALT
Electrical

Electrical Investigation,
and recalls
10

2009 CHEVROLET COBALT
Electrical

Electrical  Investigation,
and recalls
11

2012 GMC ACADIA
Structure

Structure No Investigations,
but recall
12

2008 BUICK ENCLAVE
Structure

Structure

No Investigations,
but recall

13

2012 CHRYSLER 300
Power Train

Power Train Investigation,
and recall
14

2012 HYUNDAI ELANTRA
Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control No Investigations,
but recall
15

2012 VOLVO S60
Steering

Steering No Investigations,
No recalls
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The Safety Institute has released its Vehicle Safety Watch List, a result of research on the most dangerous vehicles on the road today. The Safety Institute is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for and educating consumers about product safety and injury prevention. The Vehicle Safety Watch List is a quarterly report based on recall and car accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The efforts behind The Vehicle Safety Watch List are funded in large part by the parents of Brooke Melton, a 29 year old woman who died in a car accident after her Chevy Cobalt malfunctioned. After the death of their daughter, Mr. & Mrs. Melton discovered that General Motors was aware of the cause of the malfunction and had not disclosed the information to the public.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4 x 4 Tops the List of Cars to Watch Out For
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee 4 x 4 (make: 2014 & 2015) has taken the 1st and 2nd spot in the list, both for issues with the power train.

The list below, taken directly from the Safety Institute’s website, contains 15 cars that have shown trends in defects, have been investigated for issues by NHTSA and/or recalled by the manufacturer. Clicking in the notes column will take you to the Safety Institutes summary of the data reported to NHTSA regarding the defects to the part of the car identified as being problematic.

Rank This Period

Vehicle and Component

Component Definition

Notes
1 2015 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4×4
Power Train
Power Train Investigations,
and recall
2 2014 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4×4
Power Train
Power Train Investigations,
and recall
3

2012 CHRYSLER 300
Power Train

Power Train Investigation,
and recall
4

2008 BUICK ENCLAVE
Structure

Structure No Investigations,
but recall
5

2009 CHEVROLET COBALT
Electrical

Electrical Investigation,
and recalls
6

2009 TOYOTA CAMRY
Speed Control

Speed Control Investigations,
and recalls
7

2007 CHEVROLET COBALT
Electrical

Electrical Investigation,
and recall
8

2008 CHEVROLET IMPALA
Electrical

Electrical No Investigations,
but recalls
9

2012 GMC ACADIA
Structure

Structure No Investigations,
but recalls
10

2012 VOLVO S60
Steering

Steering  No Investigations,
No recalls
11

2012 HYUNDAI ELANTRA
Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control No Investigations,
but recall
12

2006 PONTIAC G6
Steering

Steering

Investigation,
and recalls

13

2012 FORD FUSION
Steering

Steering Investigation,
and recall
14

2015 MAZDA MAZDA6
Structure

Structure No Investigations,
No recalls
15

2013 DODGE DART
Foundation Brake

Foundation Brake No Investigations,
but recall

How to Find out If Your Car Has Been Recalled 
Typically, manufacturers notify owners via mail or phone call about a recall on their vehicle. However, for those who have purchased a used car, how can you be sure that the car has been serviced for an issue listed under a recall? The NHTSA operates a database of all cars that have been repaired as part of a recall and allows the user to search by the vehicle’s VIN number.  If you have a previously owned car, we encourage you to search for your vehicle to find out if yours has been repaired as part of a recall or is still in need of service. Roads are a shared resource and it is our duty to ensure that the cars we are driving are not a danger to ourselves or to others.

 

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Have you or a loved one been involved in a car accident? If so, you may wonder how auto insurance comes into play. In brief, Illinois is defined as a fault car insurance state. What this means is that the person who is found to be at fault for causing the car accident has to compensate people who were injured, or property damage, arising out of the car accident. Normally, in Illinois, the car insurance carrier of the at-fault driver will pay for these costs. There are various car insurance requirements in Illinois.  

Illinois’ Car Insurance Requirements

If you live in Illinois and have a registered motor vehicle in Illinois, the following laws/requirements apply to you. First of all, you, as a driver, must carry at least $20,000 in insurance coverage to cover for injury or death of a person involved in an auto accident (this includes yourself as well as others.)

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The holiday season is in full swing, and for many people, this is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Over the coming weeks, many Americans will be attending or hosting more than one parties or get-together to catch up with their friends and family and celebrate. In this kind of atmosphere, there is no shortage of alcohol, and that’s one of the primary reasons why the period between Christmas Eve and New Years Day continues to be one of the most dangerous times to be on our nation’s roads.

Over the past decade, approximately 41% of all personal injuries and fatalities between Christmas (38% of all traffic deaths on Christmas involve a drunk driver) and New Years Day (54% of all New Year’s Day traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver) were alcohol-related. With that in mind, our lawyers want to remind you that, while we know everyone looks forward to celebrating the holiday season with those close to them, it is incredibly important that we all do so responsibly. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Our law firm want to make sure you and your family get home safely from your holiday parties, so if you are planning on attending one of these gatherings here are some important rules to follow:

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Do you enjoy listening to music while you drive? I certainly do. As enjoyable as it may be, you should keep in mind that listening to music in the car may be a distraction. Parents beware; this is especially true for beginner drivers. Studies show that listening to music behind the wheels tends to distract beginner drivers more than advanced drivers.

Distracted drivers frequently cause accidents. If a distracted driver crashes into you, it is important that you hire an attorney for your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

The Research on this Issue

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A couple weeks ago, two vehicles traveling on I-64 near mile marker 43.5, were involved in an accident. A Chevy truck rear-ended a Toyota Camry, pushing it off the road and eventually overturning it. The Camry’s driver was uninjured but his passenger was taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries. Unfortunately, the driver of the Chevy truck drove off immediately after the collision; investigation is ongoing at this time.

Hit and run accidents, such as this one, happen often. As a matter of fact, and according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA), nearly 11 percent of all reported auto accidents involve at least one vehicle fleeing the scene. A lot of times they involve fatalities! Also according AAA, hit and run accidents result in about 1,500 fatalities every single year!

It is important to know and understand what to do if you are involved in a hit and run accident. First, however, if you, or a loved one, were involved in a hit and run, it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be eligible for compensation. Your compensation may include, but is not limited to, medical expense, lost wages, emotional distress and pain and suffering.

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Face it, something that you never want to experience is a rollover crash. However, please be aware that rollover crashes happen often. As a matter of fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 280,000 rollover crashes occur annually. These accidents, on average, claim more than 10,000 lives every year!

Just last week, a couple days before Halloween, a 19-year-old Illinois sustained serious, but not life-threatening, injuries in a rollover crash. The crash happened during rush hour around 5:30 p.m. This was a single vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, the young girl was driving westbound when her vehicle drifted onto the shoulder of the road. As novice drivers tend to do, this young driver overcorrected her vehicle causing it to overturn numerous times. The vehicle came to rest in the center of the highway. Luckily, this female driver was wearing a seatbelt. On the arrival of emergency crews, the female had to be extricated from the vehicle. She was then flown to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Given the severity and frequency of rollover crashes, it is important to understand how to avoid these accidents. If you are a victim of an auto accident at the fault of another person, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your resulting damages.