In January of this year, Illinois became one of about a dozen states to strengthen its distracted driving laws by banning the use of handheld cellphones. In order to make or receive phone calls behind the wheel, drivers will now have to use a headset or other hands-free device (including in-car systems that respond to voice commands).
The media is currently focusing intense scrutiny on auto giant General Motors. Over the past several weeks, G.M. not only recalled 2.6 million vehicles due to an ignition switch defect; the company was also compelled to admit that some of its employees had been aware of the defect for years. The faulty ignition switch can cause affected models to have their engines suddenly shut down and to have their electrical systems shut down. When this occurs, airbags can fail to deploy, seat belts can fail to restrain passengers and power brakes can fail to engage.
By most accounts, the evolution of the automobile seems to be leading to self-driving cars. The technology currently exists but will probably require considerable testing and tweaking before it could be used on a large scale. For now, new auto safety features assist the driver by sensing and responding to exterior dangers that the driver either can’t see or cannot respond to quickly enough. Vehicles are also starting to “talk” to other vehicles for purposes of collision avoidance.
At one time or another, every auto company will experience either manufacturing problems or defective parts that require a product recall. Although recalls may be expensive and are often inconvenient for both car companies and car owners, a well-handled recall will not significantly damage a company’s reputation or diminish customer loyalty.
This winter, the dangerously cold weather has been the biggest travel-related news in Illinois and across the Midwest. The frigid winter has so consumed our attention, in fact, that many Chicago drivers may not have realized that an important piece of legislation went into effect at the beginning of the month.
Because of its size, location and history, Chicago has long been a hub for both passenger trains and freight trains. Most of the time, this is advantageous. But when it comes to hazards posed by train accidents, Chicagoans are particularly at risk.
To varying degrees, nearly all humans suffer from a self-serving bias. As just one common example, many people believe that they are the exception to the rule when it comes to distracted driving. "It may be dangerous for others," they say, "but I'm good enough at multitasking to text and drive safely."
Even with Chicago's long and cold winters, many of the city's residents choose to travel by bicycle whenever possible. Owning and using a bicycle makes sense in nearly any densely populated urban area. Bicycles are eco-friendly and promote exercise. Moreover, many trips are just a few miles in length, and bicyclists don't have to worry about parking.
Last Sunday marked the end of Daylight Savings Time for 2013. Most people were happy to get the extra hour of sleep, even if it meant having to change nearly every clock in the house by hand.
When most people think of truck accidents, they picture a giant tractor-trailer rolling down the highway with an inattentive or drowsy driver behind the wheel. While these types of truck accidents are all too common on Illinois roads and highways, there are also large-vehicle crashes that occur frequently on city streets in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.