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Illinois injury attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer, Illinois personal injury lawyer,The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drivers who are drowsy behind the wheel. Driver fatigue is a major problem in the state of Illinois and all across the nation, responsible for 72,000 crashes and 44,000 injuries in the year 2013 alone, and those numbers are likely grossly underestimated.

Root Causes of Driver Fatigue

Everyone is at risk for experiencing driver fatigue when they are overly tired or intoxicated, although statistics suggest that commercial drivers are particularly at risk for operating a vehicle while drowsy. Tow truck, tractor trailer, and bus drivers of all kinds are especially vulnerable, as long and irregular hours tend to wear on the body’s natural sleep rhythms, endangering the ability to remain alert and safe behind the wheel. Other root causes for drowsy driving include a general lack of sleep, working night shifts or excessively long hours, using medications that cause drowsiness, and untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.

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Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,Alcohol-related car accidents remain one of the biggest causes of fatalities in Illinois, and the state has imposed harsh penalties on even first-time offenders. Prior to January 1, 2016, anyone arrested and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol was penalized with a mandatory 30-day license suspension, with longer suspension periods for repeat offenders. While this law was intended to keep dangerous drivers off of the roads, it seemed to backfire in the long-run.

Why Change the Old Law?

Many DUI offenders found legal loopholes and avoided license suspensions thanks to plea deals, while others continued to drive illegally out of necessity to keep their jobs or get their kids to school. Defense attorneys and anti-DUI activist organizations alike supported the removal of mandatory suspensions, instead arguing that ignition interlock devices could allow drivers to remain legally on the road and be monitored to ensure they drive safely.

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Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,Fatal automobile accidents in Illinois are on the rise, law enforcement officials say, and many of them could have been prevented. Cell phone use (otherwise known as distracted driving) is thought to be a major contributing factor, but failure to use seatbelts are also said to be responsible. As such, police are asking everyone – drivers, pedestrians, and passengers – to follow the rules of the road and, above all else, buckle up when on the road.

Five Deadly Months in Illinois

Although 2016 is not even half over, Illinois has already seen 356 auto accident fatalities for the year. Of those, nearly 300 were automobile drivers or passengers, 50 were pedestrians, and 4 were bicyclists. If the current trend continues, it could place 2016’s traffic fatalities above last years – a five-year record high of 998 traffic deaths. Thankfully, there is still time to turn things around, and one factor that every passenger can control (even those who are victims in accidents).

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Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,According to a report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the recall system currently in place for defective tires does not work. In fact, the report classified the system as “broken” and that it leaves commuters in danger of becoming injured or killed in vehicle crashes caused by defective tires.

The NTSB data reveals that only one in every five tires deemed to be defective is actually removed from the road via the national recall system. Another 25 percent are eventually removed from the roads due to either normal wear and tear or other damage.

However, the federal agency also concluded that almost 80 percent of defective tires are left on vehicles, putting everyone on the roads at risk. This is because there is no requirement for tire retailers to register the tires they sell with the tire manufacturer. This leaves the manufacturers unable to contact consumers who purchased tires which are later determined to be defective. More than 90 percent of the tires which are sold in this country are sold by independent tire retailers.

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Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,If you have been in a debilitating car accident, especially one in which you were not at fault, you may suffer long-lasting health effects that are more than simply physical injuries. Mental anguish, post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), and phobias are sometimes experienced by survivors of serious car accidents, and these conditions can have devastating effects on a person’s livelihood and ability to pursue life as before. If conditions persist for longer than a year and carry the diagnosis of a health professional, you may actually also be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits as well — though it is not an easy process to qualify and retain these benefits. Alternatively, you may be able to recuperate some of the costs of mental treatments, lost time at work, and reimbursement for pain and suffering through a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident in which you were not at fault.

The issue of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and phobias after a car accident is pervasive: a recent study showed that at least 30 percent of all survivors of a nonfatal car accident experience one of the above conditions as a result of the crash. Perhaps surprisingly, the presence of the mental condition after the accident was not proportionate to the severity of the accident as serious psychological complications can arise even when the accident itself wasn’t so grave. The prevalence of these complications were seen more frequently in people who were passengers in the car at the time of the crash rather than drivers.

In addition to serious psychological conditions such as PTSD that a car accident can spur, anxiety is another condition likely experienced by survivors of accidents. This can be relatively mild, such as feeling nervous when passing the scene of the accident; or more severe, such as feeling unable to get into any moving vehicle after the incident. Even mild anxiety issues can lead to long-term stress that consequently can affect your work, your relationships, and your personal life, including sleeping and eating habits. Most of these symptoms can be treated if handled properly, but treatment can be expensive.

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