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La Grange Illinois Legal Blog

The increasing number of pedestrian deaths

The citizens of Illinois may be surprised to learn that the number of pedestrians who have been killed by vehicles on the road last year has reached a high the nation has not seen since 1990. To be more concrete, around 6,227 individuals passed away due to a fatal accident while they were walking on foot, which is about 250 more fatalities than what 2017 saw. The majority of deaths took place late at night; in fact, about 90 percent of the total increase in the number of dying pedestrians over the past ten years can be attributed to nighttime accidents.

That being said, there are several factors that may be contributing to this trend. To start with, the number of fatal accidents where a pedestrian was hit by a car has increased by about 30 percent over the past six years, whereas the number of fatal accidents where the vehicle was an SUV instead of a car has increased 50 percent. There are two main reasons the number of fatal SUV accidents has been increasing. On the one hand, SUVs have higher front-end profiles than cars, making them more than twice as likely to be fatal if they hit a pedestrian. On the other hand, SUVs have been selling more than cars lately, and they account for 60 percent for all new vehicle sales.

Safety group pushes for crash-prevention tech on big rigs

Large commercial trucks travel throughout Illinois every day, and fatal crashes across the country involving big rigs increased 42 percent between 2009 and 2017. Road Safe America, co-founded by a man who lost a son in a truck accident, has joined other activists to petition senators and representatives to pass legislation that requires commercial trucks to use speed limiters and automatic emergency braking systems.

The co-founder cited a study that concluded that requiring speed limiters and setting top truck speeds at 65 mph could prevent approximately 100 fatalities a month. Truck manufacturers have placed speed limiters in commercial trucks since the 1990s because many countries require them, like the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and members of the European Union. Because the technology is already inside vehicles, about 70 percent of U.S. operators of the largest classes of trucks already use them as well. Speed limiters save transport companies money by reducing accidents and fuel and maintenance expenses.

GHSA addresses challenges of reducing speeding deaths

Nearly one third of motor vehicle-related fatalities involve speeding, so Illinois residents may be wondering what is being done about this. At the root of the issue seems to be a lack of proper education on the dangers of speeding. Speeding raises the risk for a crash as well as the severity of those that occur, endangering pedestrians and bicyclists in particular. Conversely, a slight decrease in speed makes a positive impact on crash risk and severity.

The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a report entitled "Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge," which shows how the concept and principles of Vision Zero, a project aiming for zero roadway fatalities, are far from being effectively implemented. The GHSA cited lack of education as a reason and seeks to create a speed reduction program that could be carried out through its State Highway Safety Offices.

Misdiagnosing patients can lead to malpractice claims

According to a report by a liability insurer, diagnostic errors were the most common reason for medical malpractice claims from 2013 to 2017. The report discovered that rates of malpractice claims related to such errors have not declined in recent years. This is despite the fact that this has been the case for other causes of medical malpractice claims in Illinois and throughout the country. The study took a look at 10,618 cases over the four-year time period to come to its conclusions.

It also had recommendations for doctors as to how they could reduce errors related to diagnosing a patient. For instance, they could work in teams to maximize the chances of properly analyzing a patient's condition. The report mentioned that this is easier to do in settings where doctors are allowed to express uncertainty and work with others to get a diagnosis right.

AAA study reveals distractions caused by infotainment systems

Car infotainment systems are a major source of distraction for many drivers in Illinois and across the U.S., according to a recent AAA-contracted study that analyzed 30 such systems on new 2017 vehicles. Researchers found all the systems demanded either a moderate level of attention (seven in all), a high level (11 in all) or very high (12). Cars in the last category include the Audi Q7 QPP, Dodge Durango GT, Mazda3 Touring and Tesla Model 7.

Participants in the study were drivers aged 21 to 36 who were asked to call, text, use voice commands, program navigation and engage in other activities while behind the wheel. Researchers say that even listening to the radio and using hands-free devices can be distracting to some extent. The most distracting activities, however, were GPS use and texting, both of which made drivers inattentive for more than 40 seconds.

Learning from dump truck accident statistics

Illinois motorists may find recent statistics about dump truck accidents beneficial. Although there have been initiatives enacted by federal regulators as well as industry safety experts, the number of serious accidents involving large trucks have been on the increase.

Federal regulators have tried to minimize the number of accidents by minimizing driver fatigue. They have also taken advantage of technology that allows them to keep a closer watch on what happens to truck drivers when they are on the road.

5 tips to avoid a slip and fall this winter

 Illinois sees plenty of cold weather in the winter, with its fair share of snow and ice. Many people consider themselves lucky to get through the winter without a spill or two on the icy ground.

Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries. For some seniors, a fall can even be fatal. The risk of a fall goes up as the temperature drops. This winter, follow these five tips to avoid a slip and fall accident:

External airbags and their potential benefits

Residents of Illinois who are interested in new vehicle safety technology may know about external airbags. While these are far from being implemented on vehicles, many car parts manufacturers are considering strategies for their development. The ZF Group is one such manufacturer, and it has some safety data to back up the benefits of external airbags.

In particular, external airbags can reduce the severity of side collision injuries by up to 40 percent. ZF's own external airbag model is meant to go on the sides of a vehicle and act as an additional crumple zone. Like a giant pillow, it can absorb at least some of the impact of a crash. There are several challenges to be met, though.

Approaches for limiting workplace exposure to diesel exhaust

Many industries in Illinois rely on diesel-powered equipment and vehicles. Exhaust from diesel engines contains particulate matter that can pose both short- and long-term consequences to the respiratory health of workers. Short-term exposure to diesel exhaust irritates the eyes, nose and throat. Over the long term, exposed workers experience higher rates of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as lung cancer. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not set a standard regarding exposure to diesel particulate matter, the agency does provide employers with guidelines for reducing exposure.

Changes to work duties have the potential to protect workers. For example, the prevention of traffic congestion on busy work sites reduces the production of exhaust. Rules that restrict how long engines can idle present is another effective method. Workplaces could also impose limits on how many diesel engines can operate within a given area.

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