• Personal Injury Law

    Free Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

New Distracted Driving Law in Illinois

distracted driving

Using electronic devices while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Recently, texting has become the most common cause of distracted driving accidents. A U.S Department of Transportation 2015 report shows the danger. Distracted driving crashes caused 3,5000 fatalities and about 400,000 injuries.

According to the CDC, 1/3 of drivers from the age of 18 and 64 read emails and text while in traffic. From 2011 to 2015 the electronic device related accident spiked from 50,000 to 70,000.

Unlike increased DUI penalties, the number of car accidents has not dropped. Official believe that distracted driving accidents have filled the gap.

Distracted Drivers in Illinois

The Illinois Department of transportation observed 33,666 drivers in a recent study. The study showed 3.9% of female drivers used a hand-held electronic device. Additionally, men used their devices more often (10.2%).

The study also showed, that the city of Chicago at 17.6% had the highest diver electronic device use compared to upstate counties such as DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will and Winnebago at 12.6%. The downstate counties had the lowest amount of usage.

Comparing Distracted Driving to DUIs

In an experiment conducted by Car and Driver magazine, sober drivers who text or read emails while driving take longer to react to an alert than drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08. In some instances, device-distracted driving is more dangerous than DUI.

Increased Penalties in Illinois

Illinois has imposed stricter penalties starting in July 2019. Drivers caught texting and driving will face stricter penalties for violating the law. The penalty could lead up to judge’s suspension of the violators license. This puts Illinois in line with other states taking this danger seriously. For example, in California, they ban all talking, texting and the use of any handheld phones while driving.

The new law goes in effect on July 1, 2019. The law states that anyone who illegally uses a handheld electronic device while driving will get a ticket for a moving violation.  Cristina Castro, Elgin Democrat, says the penalties under the old law has not done enough to deter the drivers from using electronic devices while driving. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2017, 9% of Illinois drivers were observed to be using electronic devices while driving. In the same year, police issued 35,036 tickets for texting or talking while driving.

The new law plans on only changing the penalty under the old law. The old law implemented in 2014 is still intact. The ban under the old law is:

  • Using the speakerphone while holding a cellphone is a violation of the law
  • Use of hands-free devices or Bluetooth technology is allowed only for people older than 18.
  • Drivers may use handheld cell phones only to report an emergency, while parked on the shoulder of a road or if the vehicle is in park or neutral while normal traffic is obstructed — such as at a stoplight or train crossing.
  • Headsets — other than a single-sided headset or earpiece — are prohibited.

It is legal to press a single button to start or end a phone call.

New Driving Safety Laws Signed into Illinois Laws

Governor Bruce Rauner signed two new driving safety measure laws this month. The first cracks down on distracted driving. The second encourages motorists to watch for bikes. The new law will go into effect July 1, 2019.

Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.Under the current law, which took effect in 2014, first-time offenses were treated as non-moving violations while subsequent offenses were treated as moving violations. Therefore, starting next summer, people caught texting while driving become a moving violation that will go on their driving record – even if it’s their first offense.

In a statement, Secretary of State Jesse White said, “No driver should be texting while driving. With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem on the roads of our state and throughout the nation.”

Specifically, the new law makes the penalty $75 for a first offense. The subsequent fines include:

  • $100 for a second,
  • $125 for a third and
  • $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

Dutch Reach Method of Opening Doors

The Dutch Reach encourages drivers and passengers to use the hand farthest from the door to reach across the body to open the door after parallel parking. This forces people who open motor vehicle doors to look back for cyclists and other traffic. According to the Active Transportation Alliance, this can help prevent sometimes-fatal “dooring” crashes. To reduce pedestrian accidents, educating the public on new measures can reduce injuries.
The lllinois Department of Transportation data shows dooring crashes on the rise across the state. Got example, in 2015, there were more than 300 reported in Chicago, a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

According to the new law, the Secretary of State shall include this method in the Illinois Rules of the Road publication. The publication will  advising drivers to use the Dutch Reach method when opening a vehicle door after parallel parking on a street. The method may appear on the written driving test concerning questions about safety.

In 2019, remember these two new driving safety measures.

 

Uber Self-Driving Cars

self-driving cars

On February 2015, Uber announced its release of automatic cars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The self-driving cars had 2 cameras, seven lasers, GPS, and a radar. When they first introduced theself-driving technology, a safety driver could take control of the vehicle if anything went wrong.

Pittsburg mayor Bill Peduto welcomed Uber and stated that Pittsburgh would become “ a 21st-century laboratory for technology.” Uber took this opportunity to test in Pittsburgh. They built a fake city called Almono to test the cars in before releasingthem in the real city. The experiments didn’t last very long. The mayor thought the Uber rides would not cost rider, but Uber charged its riders the usual amount. Therefore, he feared Uber self-driving cars also took away jobs.

Then in March 2017, a Uber self-driving car crashed in Tempe, Arizona. They suspended testing the automated cars.

Recently in March 2018, Uber re-released their self-driving cars back onto the streets. But then it struck a pedestrian walking outside of a crosswalk at night. Unfortunately, the pedestrian died due to her injuries. At the time of the accident, the car was in automatic mode.The human operator in the driver’s seat did not take control of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Once again, Uber self-driving cars suspended testing in Tempe, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

[Read more…]

Children Pedestrians: Teach Your Kids How to Walk Safely

The daughter of Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles’ 4-year-old daughter Abigail Blumenstein died when a driver allegedly suffered a medical condition, lost control of her car and sped through a crowded crosswalk. Tragically, the family followed all of the safety rules that one takes when they walk on a crowded crosswalk.

However, although some tragic events occur, you need to teach your children how to safely walk so minimize any potential accidents. In 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.

How to Walk Safely

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends these seven safety tips for children pedestrians:

• Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking around until safely across.
• Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
• Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult.
• Encourage kids to stay alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
• Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
• If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.

Eliminating Distractions for Children Pedestrians

Distracted driving continues to be a major issue for driver. However, distracted walking can also lead to accidents. On average, cars hit 44 kids per day while they walk. And many of these kids have headphones on. Teach your kids to put the phones down as they cross the street. Additionally, if they want to listen to music as they walk, make sure they have a volume setting that allows them to hear the sounds of the roads. Ideally, they will listen to only the sounds of the birds as they walk instead of anything that will distract them.

But most likely, act like the pedestrian you want them to be. If you walk, leave your phone at home. Set the example for your children pedestrians. As you drive, do not use your cell phone or any other distracting device.

It will keep your safe as you travel. But it also will provide your kids with the role model for their own safety.

If you or a loved one has been injured and need help after an accident occurred while you walked, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf.

Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

5 Defensive Driving Tips for Sharing the Road With Trucks

5 Defensive Driving Tips for Sharing the Road With TrucksDefensive Driving Tips for Cars Made Simple

 

Commercial trucks cause thousands of fatal crashes each year. Unfortunately, the much smaller and lighter passenger cars take the brunt of the impact. Defensive driving can reduce your chance of getting in a trucking accident while on the road. But most of us are only prepared to handle difficult situations involving other cars. These defensive driving tips can help you share the road safely with trucks, helping you avoid catastrophic accidents.

 

Be Aware

 

When sharing the road with trucks, you have to be aware of your surroundings and other drivers on the road. Trucks take up more road space. They also have slower breaking distances and more significant blind spots. As a result, accidents involving trucks tend to involve cars colliding at greater impacts. Always be aware when driving. Don’t try to multitask, and keep your eye on the horizon. If you’re driving behind trucks, give them enough distance so you can safely keep your eye on them and other drivers at the same time.

 

Travel at a Safe Speed

 

Trucks weigh much more than passenger cars and require greater distances to come to a stop. So it’s important to give trucks more than enough space. Driver fatigue is a leading cause of fatal accidents involving trucks. After being on the road for several hours, truck drivers can lose focus or even fall asleep at the wheel. No matter how safe you are, unless you have a sufficient distance between you and the truck, it will be very difficult to come to a stop or get out of the way of a truck that has lost control.

 

Stay Visible

 

Staying out of truck blind spots will significantly reduce your chance of getting in an accident. But truck blind spots are much larger than those of cars. Stay more than 30 feet ahead of or behind trucks at all times. Blind spots on trucks are typically two lanes to the side on the passenger side and one lane to the side on the driver side. So don’t travel in lanes immediately next to a truck or travel well ahead or behind.

 

Work with a seasoned Arlington Heights trucking accident attorney if you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck. These cases require a thorough knowledge of both state and federal transportation laws and experience filing claims against truckers and trucking companies. But involve an attorney as soon as you can, as there is a limited window of time in which to collect and preserve valuable evidence that could make or break your claim.

 

Filing a trucking accident claim can be overwhelming, and Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer understands how you feel. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

Best Turn-by-Turn Navigation Apps for Safe Travel

Best Turn-by-Turn Navigation Apps for Safe TravelNavigation Apps to Help You Travel Safely

 

Turn-by-turn navigation apps can help you drive with fewer distractions and arrive at your destination safely. Not only do navigation apps give you hands-free directions, but they also reduce your travel time by giving you the quickest route. When combined, distraction-free and efficient travel equals safe travel.

 

The Best Apps for Safe Travels

 

Google Maps

 

Google Maps for both iOS and Android offers many capabilities with built-in safety features. One of the most beneficial features is voice-activated search on Android. Simply say “Okay, Google” to search for places you want to go to entirely hands-free. You have to enable this feature using iOS manually, so start it up before you get on the road.

 

Waze

 

Waze is a social driving app that offers a unique function. It allows drivers to submit traffic reports and other information about their commute. Once you tap into this data, you can get real-time information from other drivers on road closures, traffic, collisions, and other hazards, which is essential to safe driving.

 

CoPilot GPS

 

CoPilot GPS has robust offline capabilities. As long as you download the data-heavy maps over Wi-Fi, this app will get you where you need to go with or without service. This is crucial for road trips and traveling in rural areas where service is limited and getting stranded is a real threat. CoPilot GPS also has a speed feature, logging your speed and notifying you when you near the speed limit.

 

While there are dozens of good turn-by-turn navigation apps on the market, these three, in particular, have certain features that can make driving safer. From voice only search to real-time information from other drivers, your commute can be quick, efficient, and completely hands-free.

 

No matter how safe you drive, you can’t control how others drive. With this in mind, always drive defensively, and be aware of risks and road hazards. If you are involved in an accident, it’s best to speak with an auto accident lawyer about filing a claim. A savvy Arlington Heights auto accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to submit a claim successfully, so you can get the compensation you deserve.

 

If you need help filing a car accident claim, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Evaluating Driver’s Ed: Are Teen Driving Schools Worth It?

Evaluating Driver’s Ed: Are Teen Driving Schools Worth It?New drivers have a lot to learn before they can drive safely in any situation. Good driving takes lots of practice, and teen driving schools provide the guided practice teens need to learn the rules of the roads quickly.

 

Many parents hesitate to sign their teens up for driving school classes because they can be expensive, and they wonder if practice with Mom and Dad would be just as beneficial. There are many pros and cons to teen driving schools, but we’ll go over some of the most important.

 

Follow the Rules

 

Teen driving school instructors know the up to date rules of the road well. Your teen can benefit from learning about one of the most important parts of driving—following the law—from a professional. It’s easy to go into autopilot mode when driving. Over time, driving becomes an intuitive practice. Understanding the flow of traffic and how to be safe becomes less about remembering laws and more about simple awareness. Your teen needs to learn both.

 

Teen Troubles

 

Your teen can also benefit from the knowledge of an instructor who works with teens every day and knows what they need to be careful about in particular. When you learned to drive, you didn’t have the many distractions teens face today. You might have even forgotten what it feels like to get behind the wheel when you’re just starting out as a driver. Driving instructors are in touch with everything your teen is going through and can help your teen through each challenge in the most effective way.

 

The Benefit to You

 

You may also qualify for insurance premium discounts if your teen completes a teen driving school course. Car insurance rates can soar after adding a teen to a policy. Insurance companies know the risks of insuring an inexperienced driver and raise rates accordingly. Having your teen complete a driver’s education course is one way to lower those rates and ease the burden of higher premiums. Also, some insurance companies offer discounts for good grades, so keep that in mind.

 

When combined, these benefits make teen driving schools worth it. In the end, the cost of a driving school can help your teen become a more skilled driver. It can also work to reduce insurance policy hikes and lessen the likelihood you’ll be faced with the expensive aftermath of an accident. Most importantly, driving schools contribute to your teen’s safety behind the wheel and the safety of their passengers. And you can’t put a price on safety.

 

If you need help filing a car accident claim, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

The Risks of Teen driving: A Guide for Parents

The Risks of Teen driving: A Guide for ParentsBecoming a good driver takes practice, which is why new drivers—including teens—have higher rates of traffic fatalities. Teens starting out on the road need guidance, as there are many risks they face as new drivers. Parents play a vital role in teaching their teens to become good drivers, so it’s essential parents be aware of the risks teens face behind the wheel.

 

The Risks Your Teen Faces

 

Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death among 15-20 year-olds. This vulnerable age group faces dangers such as distracted driving and riding with inexperienced drivers. You can help mitigate these risks by having an open conversation with your teen about the dangers of driving and providing him or her guidance on how to be a safe and defensive driver.

 

Reducing the Risk

 

Distracted driving is one of the biggest risks today’s teen faces when on the road. Teens face the pressures of staying in constant contact with friends and the online world and are more inclined to want to make the most of their technology—and newfound freedom—by using GPS and other mobile navigation technologies. You should warn your teen of the dangers of using mobile devices while driving, but make sure you set a good example yourself. Model responsible behaviors by getting directions before you start the car, pulling over to take calls, and otherwise staying mobile-free while behind the wheel.

 

Peers can distract teens even more than mobile devices can. Teens who drive with peer passengers face higher rates of traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, more than half of teens who die in car crashes are passengers themselves. Go over the importance of wearing seat belts, and always wear a seat belt yourself when driving with your teen. Also, enforce graduated driving laws, and limit the passengers your teen can drive with to adults only until he or she becomes a more experienced driver.

 

Practice Makes a Difference

 

Lastly, make sure your teen gets more than enough practice. Practice in different conditions, such as day and night, and fair and inclement weather. Practice doesn’t make perfect when it comes to driving, but it can increase the chance your teen can safely avoid an accident.

 

Safe driving comes with practice. But many teens get into accidents while learning how to drive. Make sure you work with your teen on safe driving habits and help them navigate the insurance claim process if they do get in an accident. Speak with an experienced Illinois auto accident attorney if you need guidance. An attorney can advise you on what could potentially happen to your auto insurance rates, explain the claims process, and make sure your rights—and those of your teen—are protected.

 

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an accident, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

How to Safely Enjoy the Fall Foliage

How to Safely Enjoy the Fall FoliageThe best time to view fall foliage in Illinois is mid-to late October. During this time, expect to see distracted leaf peeping out of towners on the road. Unfortunately, many locals dread this time of year because these distracted drivers not only slow your commute, they can cause accidents as well.

It’s no wonder locals find leaf peepers a nuisance. Slowing down, failing to signal, or stopping on a through way—easy to do when trying to catch a glimpse—are dangerous and frequently cause accidents.

Tips for Safe Viewing

To ensure you can enjoy the fall foliage in Illinois safely, follow these tips.

Be Aware of the Risks

When drivers are distracted by nature in all its glory, they can put other drivers on the road at risk. Drivers viewing the leaves commonly drive slower than traffic and often make driving maneuvers without properly signaling. Stay alert so you can recognize distracted drivers, and give them plenty of room, so you can quickly and safely maneuver around them and avoid collisions.

Know the Rules

The Illinois rules of the road handbook provides guidance on what to do when someone is blocking a lane or driving unsafely. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these rules, so you know the legal—and safe—action to take when dealing with negligent drivers.

Be Cautious When Driving on Leaves

After that first rainstorm, expect to see some of those beautiful leaves on the street. Although they make for beautiful pictures, wet leaves are slippery and cause accidents by obscuring the road. Drive slower on leaves, and turn with caution.

Help When You Can

You can also contribute to keeping our roads safer during fall foliage season by helping people from out of town locate the best areas for viewing leaves and the safest pull out spots.

Leaf peepers aren’t the only risk you’ll face on the road this fall. Deer in mating season, more kids out due to school, and leaf debris on the road can all contribute to accidents. So, follow the tips above and stay safe when viewing the beautiful foliage this fall!

 

If you’ve recently been in an accident and want compensation for your losses, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Safe and Slow: Reducing the Risks of Back to School Season

Safe and Slow: Reducing the Risks of Back to School SeasonBack to school season means more children are walking to and from school, riding the bus, and playing sports outdoors. Because more children are out and about, driving safely and aware is more important than ever.

A Safe Start

To have a safe and successful start of the new school year, follow these tips:

Lower Your Speed

Most school zones have lower speed limits than surrounding areas—usually 20 mph—but when the school day is just starting or ending, you may want to drive even slower. Exercise caution when kids are crossing the street, loading the bus, or getting picked up. Heed the speed limits; they are there for a reason. Children are unpredictable and can easily find their way into the road before you have time to stop. Also, expect steeper fines for speeding in a school zone.

Stay Aware When Near Schools

You might see crossing guards and school safety personnel in school zones. They help keep traffic moving and the kids safe. Many schools have crosswalks that are closely monitored during school hours. Expect to drive slowly and carefully whenever in a school zone.

Give Buses Room

Be extra careful near school buses. Again, children can be unpredictable, and you can face steep fines for illegally circumventing buses while they load and unload kids.

Take Your Time

Back to school season comes with higher risks but also more distractions and priorities. When coupled together, these two factors pose a deadly risk. It is illegal to use a hand-held device or text while driving in Illinois. Even activities like eating or drinking can be distracting enough to harm someone. Don’t risk it. Get up a little earlier, so you don’t feel the need to multitask behind the wheel.

The start of school can be a fun time of the year. But in the midst of all the excitement, make sure you practice safe driving and stay on guard. And if you’re involved in an accident, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An Arlington Heights personal injury attorney can advise you of your rights and help you seek fair compensation step by step.

 

If you or a loved one were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

 

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

Testimonials

The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, LTD
"Mr. Wittmeyer and staff are very knowledgeable, honest, and friendly to deal with. They will answer your questions and help you get the representation you need and deserve. They are very experienced and thorough with the cases they handle."

Client of Ron Wittmeyer
5 / 5 stars

More Testimonials