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How Can We Improve Road Safety?

Car accidents occur every day throughout the United States. Unfortunately, these accidents claim hundreds of Americans lives each year. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in the state of Illinois there were 964 fatal accidents and 1,050 fatalities throughout 2018. The good news, however, is that this number decreased by 39 from 2017, and this is the first time the number has decreased since 2014. Vermilion County specifically had 10 fatalities, which was 6 fewer than the previous year. We have definitely made progress but we still have a ways to go.

As we start a new year, we must make it a goal to make the roadways a safer place for drivers and passengers across the United States. As drivers, it is our responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe on the roads. The following are some of the most important things to remember while driving.

  • Keep your attention on driving the entire time you are behind the wheel. No distractions.
  • Drive defensively; Be aware of what other drivers next to you are doing, and expect the unexpected.
  • ALWAYS wear your seatbelt and drive sober and drug-free.
  • Follow the rules and regulations of the road by obaying the speed limit and putting your phone away while driving.

In order to ensure that the roadways in Illinois will be safer this year, the state is implementing new transportation-related laws that will take place in 2019. The following laws will be put in place throughout 2019.

  • Tougher texting and driving penalties: Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous things that a driver can do, yet many drivers continue to do it. In order to combat this, drivers that are caught texting will be issued a moving violation that will go on their record. If a driver has three moving violations in a 12-month period, their license will be suspended. This law begins on July 1, 2019.
  • Children under two must ride rear-facing: Parents will now be required to follow this rule, or else they will be fined anywhere from $75 to $200 dollars. Children more than 40 pounds are exempt.
  • “Dutch Reach” method is now part of the curriculum: “The Dutch Reach” method will be added to Illinois’ Rules of the Road manual. This method requires drivers to open their doors with their hand farthest from the door when parallel parking. It is believed that this method reminds drivers to look for cyclists before opening their door, helping them avoid a “dooring” crash.

Too many fatal accidents occur due to avoidable instances. In order to make our roadways safe, all drivers on the road must stay focused, cautious, and informed. Making sure you are paying attention to your own driving while also paying attention to the actions of other drivers around you is key in avoiding accidents. With that said, we can only control our own actions, and at times, accidents are completely unavoidable. Innocent victims should not have to suffer because of the irresponsible behaviors of others. If you or a loved one have been a victim in a car accident, the Danville auto accident attorneys at Spiros Law P.C. can help you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today at (217) 443-4343 to discuss your case today.


National Teen Driver Safety Week

October 21-27 is the 11th annual National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTSDW). This week is dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to prevent teen injuries and deaths on the road. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15 to 18 years) in the US, and in 2015, 1,972 teen drivers were involved in fatal traffic crashes. National Teen Driver Safety Week is a week that parents are encouraged to have conversations with their teens about safety tips when behind the wheel, helping them to avoid becoming another statistic. Teens look at receiving their license as a step toward freedom, but it is important that you provide rules and regulations for them, because teen drivers are not ready to have the same level of responsibility behind the wheel as adults. Some of the most important issues to address are alcohol use, inconsistent or no seatbelt use, distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding, etc.

One local group, The Future Problem Solvers Club at Danville High School, is doing a great job promoting messages to keep teens safe behind the wheel. Future Problem Solvers is an international competition program that teaches students how to use a problem-solving method that allows them to identify a local topic of concern, and then work to develop a plan of action to improve the situation. Their most recent project was called “Project Ignition”, which is focused on safe driving in the community. They are working hard researching different ways to improve road safety.

Project Ignition wants to bring attention to weather and road conditions, issues beyond the driver’s control, which are a major cause of road accidents. They recognize that issues such as texting, alcohol, and not wearing a seatbelt are huge factors in causing road accidents, but wanted to bring light to the issues that are often overlooked. To do this, the team launched their own driving safety campaign, providing tips and awareness for teen drivers all over the area.

An issue they came across during their research was Interstate 74 between the Champaign and Vermillion county lines. This stretch of interstate is surrounded by open fields, causing wind speeds to increase significantly, leading to more accidents. When drivers make contact with these high winds, they can easily lose control of their vehicles, leading to accidents. In fact, they found that this part of the interstate has more accidents and fatalities than any other part. The team is now working with city and road officials to put warning signs along this part of the interstate, in the hopes of warning drivers along this stretch of I-74. The team runs under the motto, “We are ALL the KEY to road safety”, and that is an important motto for us drivers to be reminded of. To find out more about Project Ignition, check out their Facebook page. 

Your role in keeping your teens informed about the rules of the road is vital. The following tips will allow you to help your teen avoid any accidents on the road.

  • Invest in a safe driving course.
  • Talk to them about ALL the risks that come with driving.
  • Set realistic boundaries, and stick to them.
  • Rid of any common distractions in the teen’s vehicle.
  • Most importantly, practice what you preach.

Remember to stay informed, and keep your teen drivers informed to avoid any future tragedies on the road.