Chicago readers have probably heard the tragic story of the train accident that killed two university students in Maryland one week ago. The friends from high school were spending one summer night together before going their separate ways to start a new semester in college. They were sitting on the edge of an historic rail bridge that runs through the center of town when 21 rail cars derailed atop the bridge, spilling tons of coal. Unfortunately, the girls could not escape the avalanche of onrushing material.
While many Americans work in fields typically considered quite dangerous, such as logging and mining, a recent report revealed that the most deadly jobs in the United States are actually those that involve long hours on the road. According to the study compiled by eTrain Today, "transportation incidents" accounted for 39 percent of all work-related deaths in the U.S. in 2010.
The Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago is most famously known for its namesake building, Wrigley Field, and the Cubs that call it home. The area is also home to a vibrant mix of restaurants, bars and residences. The tightly-packed streets carry a high volume of what can be, at times, chaotic traffic.
In early July, a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to enforce new public safety ratings for discount bus companies passed in Congress.
Over the years, automakers have vastly improved how their vehicles respond in car crashes. The airbag is one of the most recognizable and visible safety advancements, but a number of engineering developments lie hidden under the car's exterior sheath of steel. Spurred on in part by crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, manufacturers have gradually redesigned their cars to account for the effects of various impacts on vehicle occupants.
Many auto accidents in Chicago and the injuries that result from them could be prevented if only drivers would observe the duty of care they owe to everyone else on the road. One of the most significant breaches of that duty occurs when a person decides to get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration that exceeds the legal limit.
Much has been written recently, both on our blog and in the broader media, about accidents involving discount bus carriers. Only a couple of weeks ago we mentioned a crash on Interstate 55 involving a Megabus that resulted in the death of a college student. That carrier is again in the news after one of its coaches hit and killed an elderly woman as she was crossing the street in downtown Chicago.
In the wake of the Olympic Games, where the world watched remarkable swimmers like Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin race for gold, it is important to take a moment to consider the necessity of swimming safety. Lakes and swimming pools are popular escapes for Chicago residents in the summer; however, it is crucial to ensure children and those unable to swim are properly protected while enjoying the water.
Walking around in a large metropolis like Chicago can present many dangers for pedestrians. While many cities have made efforts to become more pedestrian-friendly in recent years, tens of thousands of people still suffer injuries every year. According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 70,000 people on foot were injured in car crashes in 2010. An additional 4,280 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents.
Ford Escape owners may need to bring their vehicles in for a company-funded recall. Ford Motor Co. is alerting known owners of the brand-new Ford Escape of a safety risk to the SUV. Owners are instructed not to drive the vehicles until the dealership can make adjustments to the fuel lines within them. The risk to the consumer involves the cracking and spillage of gasoline, which can lead to serious engine fires.
Dangling a carrot before Illinois and other states can be a powerful incentive when that carrot represents millions of dollars that states could receive if they enact various safe-driving laws. Last month, President Obama signed a transportation bill that could divide up to $46 million among states that create or beef up programs to counteract distracted driving.
Nearly three months ago, we posted on a proposed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rule that would equip heavy-duty trucks and buses with electronic stability control. According to NHTSA studies, the systems would save lives and prevent thousands of truck accidents every year.
It is no secret that large commercial trucks pose a danger to drivers on highways in Illinois and throughout the country. 18 wheelers are heavier, take longer to brake, and are more difficult to maneuver than passenger vehicles, which is why commercial truck drivers must receive a medical checkup roughly every two years to retain their driver's licenses. Too often, however, drivers were able to receive required checkups from untrained medical personnel, who in some cases would provide drivers with the necessary okay after a cursory examination.
Buses operated by Megabus are a common sight around Chicago and the Illinois area, providing frequent transportation to cities around the Midwest. Today, one Megabus carrying up to 81 passengers left the road and crashed head-on into a concrete pillar supporting a highway overpass. The bus was on Interstate 55 near Litchfield at the time, making a run from Chicago through St. Louis and eventually on to Kansas City.