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Litchfield Illinois Motor Vehicle Accident Blog

What role does alcohol play in fatal car accidents?

A fatal car accident is always a devastating incident. However, it can be made even more upsetting when you discover alcohol is involved. Every Illinois driver has the responsibility to not get behind the wheel when he or she has been drinking. It still happens, though, every day. If you have considered driving while under the influence, it may help to learn a bit more about the role alcohol plays in fatal motor vehicle accidents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report about one-third or 29 percent of all fatalities in motor vehicle accidents involved a drunk driver in 2015. It is estimated that every 51 minutes a person dies as a result of an alcohol-related crash, which adds up to 28 people per day. Of the deaths in accidents involving an impaired driver, 16 percent of the deaths in 2015 were children ages zero to 14.

What are the most common car accident injuries?

Getting into a car accident is often emotionally, psychologically and physically traumatic. It is the latter of these traumas, however, which is most likely to persist and affect your quality of life in the future. Injuries that result from a collision may range from minimal to life-threatening, but no matter what kind of hurt you experienced, you should get the medical care and legal representation you need.

The following are some of the most common injuries resulting from auto accidents. Even if you do not immediately feel as though you have an injury, pain and other symptoms can appear after the fact, so it is important to be on the lookout for these and other injuries after a collision.

Go for high visibility as an older motorcycle rider

People who ride motorcycles love to wear black, especially older bikers. In fact, many have black motorcycles — Harleys, for example. However, since older motorcycle riders sustain injuries that are more serious than their younger counterparts, it would help for them to become more visible.

There are a few simple adjustments that every motorcycle rider, even the over-60 enthusiasts, can make in the effort to become more visible.

How is fault determined in a car accident?

If you have been in a car accident in Illinois, one of your first thoughts was likely who was at fault. Obviously, it is best if someone else caused the accident because it will ensure you are not at risk for a citation or insurance issues. However, it may not always be so clear as to who was responsible. According to Zeiler Insurance, there are some situations where determining fault may require some investigation.

A good example is a rear end collision. It is often assumed if you hit another car from behind, you are at fault. This is based on the assured clear distance law where you are required to keep a safe distance behind other vehicles. However, if there were other factors at play preventing you from stopping, then you may not be found at fault or comparative negligence may come into play, reducing the percentage of your responsibility. This could lead to a lower liability and fewer damages you owe.  

Are there things you can do to stay safer as a pedestrian?

As a pedestrian in Illinois, you are always at risk of being involved in an accident due to the negligence, distraction or impairment of other motorists on the road. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to heighten your safety as a pedestrian and reduce your risk of being involved in a serious auto-pedestrian accident.

According to AAA Exchange, you can be an attentive and alert pedestrian by taking the following actions:

  • Walk safely: While you may be tempted to take shortcuts across the street or try and beat on-coming traffic, it is imperative to walk safely. Some of the things you should always do include using a crosswalk when available, staying on the sidewalk and walking in well-lit areas. You should never walk along the side of freeways or busy highways as they are extremely dangerous.
  • Stay sober: Walking if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol of any kind can significantly reduce your ability to make smart decisions. If you plan to walk somewhere around cars, make sure you are well-rested, alert and completely sober.
  • Make sure you are seen: Never assume that drivers see you. Whenever you are preparing to cross a street, look for signs that the driver sees you and has acknowledged you. When you are confident that they have stopped and are waiting for you, you can begin crossing the street.  
  • Follow the rules: Be observant of all traffic laws so you can make knowledgeable decisions when crossing streets. Use signals, crosswalks and sidewalks where possible and encourage others to do the same.

How does speeding affect drivers?

Speeding is something many people do on Illinois roadways. While it may not be considered a big deal, it is a crime. Posted speed limits have been determined based upon different factors and are set for a reason. The bottom line is to keep people safe, both those in the vehicles and those outside them. When you speed, you are putting everyone's life at risk.

According to Pulse, speeding is dangerous because of the effects it has on the driver's abilities. Speed limits are often set according to the roadway conditions. For example, slower limits may be set on a road that has a lot of curves. If you exceed the limit, it can affect your ability to maneuver your vehicle around those curves. In addition, speeding can make it more difficult to react to unexpected things happening in your path, such as an animal running across the road or a downed tree branch.

Illinois roads continue to be dangerous for motorcycles

Once the weather warms up, motorcyclists begin hitting the roads in Illinois. After a long winter, they enjoy being able to cruise freely under the warm sun. For drivers, this means being more vigilant and watching out for them. It also means an uptick in accidents. When a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the chances are fairly high that seriously injuries will occur.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2014, there were 118 motorcyclists killed in accidents in the state. These fatalities represented 13.7 percent of all vehicle accident fatalities, but motorcycle accidents only made up 1.2 percent of all accidents. In addition, 2,693 people were injured in such accidents. This is a clear indicator of the risks of a motorcycle being involved in a crash and how severe it can be. Most injuries and deaths occurred to riders who were 45 or older. Those between the ages of 25 and 34 were the next group to be most likely to experience injuries or death.

What are the most recent fatal car accident statistics?

You likely know that driving can be dangerous. There are accidents every day on Illinois roadways. Unfortunately, some of these are fatal. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, every traffic accident that involves a fatality must be reported to law enforcement.  This not only assures the accident scene is managed and victims are properly cared for but it also allows the DOT to collect and analyze crash data to keep you informed and to help prevent future accidents. Knowledge can be power when it comes to vehicle accidents because it enables authorities to spot problem areas and can help you be more aware of the risks you face on the roadways.

There was a total of 313,316 reported accidents in 2015. Of those, there was a total of 998 deaths. This equals out to almost three deaths per day due to car accidents. The most common place for fatal accidents to occur were city streets and roads. They also were more common in the city than in rural areas. The top three types of accidents that resulted in a fatality were with a fixed object, involved pedestrians or were head-on collisions. Fatal crashes were most likely on weekends and occurred most often between noon and 7:59 in the evening. Most crashes, in general, occurred after sundown.

Pedestrian deaths rise significantly in 2016

Pedestrian deaths rose across the nation, and Illinois was no exception. In fact, according to NPR, pedestrian fatalities spiked 11 percent in the past year, which is the largest year-over-year increase ever. Traffic fatalities rose in the past year as well, a 6 percent jump, which means that while more crashes have become deadly, pedestrian deaths have grown faster than expected.

There are several contributing factors to the rise of fatalities for pedestrians. First, lower prices at the pump and a strong economy mean that more people are behind the wheel. Yet many believe that distraction has much to do with the fatal spike being seen this year. Not only are drivers often distracted, so are the pedestrians at risk. Cell phone usage by both drivers and walkers is believed to be a large contributor to the 2016 numbers.

How common are large truck accidents?

Every day you and other passenger vehicles share the road with large trucks in Illinois. As long as everyone is following the law and paying attention, things generally proceed without incident. However, all it takes is one error and an accident can occur. The reality, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is out of every 10 accidents that occur in the country, one of them will involve a large truck. An even scarier fact is that in such an accident, it is most likely to be you, the occupant of the passenger vehicle, who is injured.

In 2015, there were almost 3,900 people who died as a result of an accident involving a large truck. Of those people, 84 percent were not truck occupants. Most of these crashes involved a semi-truck with only 25 percent being another type of large truck.

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