December 15, 2016 Auto Accident Lawyer and Trucking Accident Attorney Assisting Injury Victims in Chicago Did you know that more than 32,000 Americans sustain fatal injuries in motor vehicle accidents each year while an additional two million suffer serious injuries? Those statistics from a fact sheet presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the need to take additional steps to prevent serious auto accidents. To be sure, the CDC reports that the rate of auto accident fatalities in the U.S. each year is more than double the rate of other similar nations across the globe. Given the large size and weight of semi-trucks, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucking accidents often result in fatal injuries to smaller car occupants. Indeed, big rigs often weigh in excess of 10,000 pounds and can cause substantial damage to passenger vehicles. Common Causes for Chicago Motor Vehicle Accidents What are some of the primary causes of car accidents in the Chicago area and across Illinois more generally? The CDC fact sheet cites the following as some of the most common causes for motor vehicle accidents: Aggressive driving: driving aggressively and/or failing to obey traffic rules can lead to a serious or even fatal motor vehicle accident. Common types of aggressive driving include speeding, tailgating or following too closely, weaving between traffic, changing lanes without using a turn signal, attempting to block other cars from changing lanes, and running red lights or stop signs. According to the CDC, speeding causes more than 9,500 crash-related deaths in the U.S. each year. A fact sheet from the AAA Foundation for Traffic safety emphasizes that aggressive driving often is a factor in more than 50 percent of all fatal auto accidents. AAA defines aggressive driving as “any unsafe behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety,” and it reports that more than 50 percent of all drivers admit to engaging in some form of aggressive driving over the last year. Distracted driving: distracted driving is becoming an increasingly serious problem in Chicago and indeed across the country. According to statistics reported by Distraction.gov, distracted driving refers to “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Distractions can be visual (not keeping your eyes on the road), manual (not keeping your hands on the wheel), and/or cognitive (not keeping your mind on what is required to stay safe while driving). The use of smartphones—for talking or texting—is a major cause of distracted driving, although it is not the only source of distraction when you are behind the wheel. A fact sheet from the CDC reports that more than eight people sustain fatal injuries every day in accidents caused by distracted driving, while more than 1,100 suffer injuries. Fatigued driving, or drowsy driving: drowsy driving, or fatigued driving, can cause accidents whenever a driver is not sufficiently awake to pay attention behind the wheel. According to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, about one-third of all American drivers admit to engaging in drowsy driving in the last 30 days alone. For drivers between the ages of 16 and 45, about 10 percent engage in drowsy or fatigued driving at least once or twice every week. Given the high rate of drowsy drivers on the roads and highways around Chicago, it is not surprising to learn that, according to the report, nearly 20 percent of all deadly motor vehicle accidents involve a fatigued driver. Some studies suggest that fatigued driving can be just as hazardous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Drowsy driving, according to the FMCSA, is a particular problem for truckers who have been on the road for many hours at a time. Impaired driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: impaired driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), typically occurs in Illinois when a driver’s blood alcohol content is at 0.08 percent or higher. Depending upon the person and other individual factors, a DUI can result from having just one or two drinks. According to an information sheet on impaired driving from the CDC, 28 people die every day in accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver. In the year 2014 alone, nearly 10,000 people suffered fatal injuries in auto accidents involving at least one driver who had too much to drink. In total, fatal crashes involving an alcohol-impaired account for more than 30 percent of all deadly accidents reported in the country. Types of Injuries Commonly Suffered in Illinois Auto Accidents What types of injuries often result from car and truck accidents? Common injuries can include but are not limited to: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs); Spinal cord injuries (SCIs); Back injuries; Broken bones; Whiplash; and Catastrophic injuries, such as disfigurement or amputation. Filing a Claim for Injuries Sustained in a Car Accident or a Trucking Accident If someone you love sustained injuries in a serious traffic collision in Chicago, an experienced auto accident attorney can assist with your case. Contact the Finn Law Firm today to discuss your options for filing a claim for compensation.