Staying Safe in Construction Zones

Staying Safe in Construction Zones

Construction zones are everywhere here in Illinois. It’s just like the local saying that Illinois has two seasons: winter and construction. We still have a few months of construction before the winter weather arrives, which means your morning commute or weekend road trip can be extra dangerous. Construction zones on highways, interstates, and local roads make for reduced speed, shifting lanes, overall confusion, and an increased risk for accidents.

The state of Illinois reports that in 2017, there were 5,423 crashes in work zones. Of those accidents, 24 were fatal resulting in 30 deaths. Injuries from the crashes numbered over 1,400 as well. If you are going to be on the road, it is imperative that you stay safe in construction zones, as the likelihood of being involved in an accident is higher than in a non-work zone. Here are a few ways to keep yourself and your family safe.

Slow Down

Construction zones are busy places with extra equipment and workers scattered throughout the shoulder and road. Speeding can increase your risk of being involved in an accident, so be sure to slow down. If you see another vehicle driving too fast or erratically, slow down even more and give them a wide berth.

Stay Alert

Work zones typically feature a lane shift, uneven road surfaces, or other unexpected elements that could throw your drive for a loop. As you slow down, be extra alert to your surroundings. Keep your eyes peeled for workers, large vehicles pulling on and off the road, and changes in the road. When possible, turn down your radio to allow for better listening to the environment around you as well.

Don’t Drive Distracted

Distracted driving in normal conditions is already extremely dangerous, so be sure you are not looking at your cell phone while in a construction zone. Don’t glance at your phone for GPS instructions either; it’s too risky in an already dangerous place.

Even if you are a safe driver, you may still become involved in a work zone accident due to other drivers. In these cases, be sure you work with an experienced attorney to advocate for you during the insurance claim and litigation process. The team at MacCloskey, Kesler & Associates has worked with clients injured in construction zones, and we have the experience to get you a favorable outcome while you focus on recovery.

Marijuana and Driving

Marijuana and Driving

Beginning on January 1, 2020, Illinois residents will be able to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use. Governor Pritzker signed the law earlier this year, making our state the 11th in the country to legalize marijuana for adults. However, what does this law mean for you and for the drivers you share the road with? Here’s what you need to know to stay informed and safe.

Who can buy marijuana?

Adults ages 21 and over will be allowed to purchase marijuana beginning on January 1. However, it is only legal to purchase marijuana from licensed sellers throughout the state; it remains illegal to purchase marijuana from unauthorized sources.

Where can I use marijuana?

If you are 21 years old or older and have purchased marijuana from a licensed seller on January 1, 2020, you can smoke it in your home or in some on-site marijuana dispensaries. It is ILLEGAL to use marijuana while in public places or while in a vehicle, whether you are driving or not.

How does marijuana affect driving?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has done extensive research on marijuana’s role in impaired driving. According to the institute, there is a direct link between THC levels and impaired driving ability. Marijuana can decrease coordination, judgment, and reaction time, each necessary for safe driving on roads throughout our state and country.

Studies have demonstrated the link between THC levels and increased risk of fatal vehicle accidents. In fact, drivers with THC in their systems were twice as likely to be responsible for a fatal vehicle accident than their peers without THC in their bodies. Drivers who use marijuana and alcohol together and get behind the wheel increase their risk of injury or fatality even more.

Driving while under the influence of marijuana remains illegal in Illinois. Currently, and moving forward, any driver with a THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more per millimeter is considered impaired under Illinois law. Beginning January 1, there will be additional focus on accurate and efficient roadside testing for marijuana use.

Admittedly, it will be difficult for other drivers to know when someone is under the influence of marijuana. Dispensaries will not only sell marijuana to smoke but also will sell the drug in various forms, such as in gummies or brownies. If you are on the road and notice someone driving erratically, consider slowing down and avoiding them if possible.

If you are involved in a vehicle accident where the other driver is under the influence of marijuana, be sure you are working with an experienced attorney. The team at MacCloskey, Kesler & Associates have decades of experience advocating for our clients and getting the best outcome possible. Call our office today to talk more about your situation.

DUI: Why It Matters and How It Can Affect Your Case

DUI: Why It Matters and How It Can Affect Your Case

When you are involved in a vehicle accident, it’s scary. It can take weeks for you to finally relax, but if you were injured in the accident, your recovery period will entail much more than just an emotional shift. Car accidents are traumatic, and if the person who caused your accident was subsequently charged with a DUI, or driving under the influence, you can feel even more unnerved.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 30 people die each day in drunk-driving vehicle accidents throughout America. This staggering number does not include the number of people injured, which is about 800 per day according to MADD. One thing is certain: driving under the influence is dangerous and can be fatal for others who share the road.

Alcohol and other substances significantly reduce the abilities needed to safely drive. For example, both alcohol and marijuana cause decreased coordination, reaction time, and judgment, all skills required to operate a vehicle without incident. Unfortunately, people do get behind the wheel while intoxicated and can cause you injury.

If you have been injured, or if a loved one has passed away, due to a vehicle accident involving a person driving under the influence, it is imperative that you immediately begin to work with a personal injury attorney who has experience in DUI case litigation. The team at MacCloskey, Kesler & Associates has decades of experience fiercely fighting for our injured clients and getting the compensation they deserve from insurance companies and from the person who caused the accident due to their DUI.

If the driver that caused your accident was intoxicated, they will face the courtroom during their criminal case. As the injured party, you can also file a civil claim against the driver, suing for compensation for your injuries, suffering, and work time lost. If the at-fault driver is found guilty during the criminal case, it will be even easier to prove fault and negligence in your civil claim.

You do not need to know the ins and outs of complicated DUI law. You only need to work with an attorney who does. If you have been involved in an accident due to a driver who was intoxicated, call our team immediately to talk more about your situation and your options. We look forward to serving you and advocating for your best outcome.

The Dangers of Unsafe Trucking Practices

The Dangers of Unsafe Trucking Practices

When you pull your car out of your driveway, you put your life in the hands of other drivers you encounter on your trip. We all share the road together, and one bad decision or distracted moment can bring grave consequences for others nearby.

Consider your latest commute. You probably passed multiple cars, minivans, and SUVs. You also likely passed large semi trucks. The trucking industry is an important one, as it moves goods across the country with efficiency. However, sometimes that efficiency can transform into danger when poor decisions are made.

Concerns About the Trucking Industry

Just like most businesses, the trucking industry is driven by profit. Sometimes, companies and drivers are rewarded for fast delivery. This need for speedy transportation can leave most drivers choosing between a good night’s sleep and pushing through to meet their delivery deadline.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations that are designed to keep drivers safe. There are required rest periods, electronic logs, pre-trip inspections, and other rules to assure trucks, and their drivers, are functioning at their best. Unfortunately, there are incidents of truck drivers ignoring these regulations.

Truck drivers have a higher incidence of driving while exhausted, driving while under the influence of stimulants, failing to maintain their truck, and even driving while texting or using the internet. This is especially frightening because a truck vs. car accident can be deadly.

What To Do

Professional truck drivers are held to a higher standard than drivers of cars because they are covering more miles and driving more hours each day. However, if a truck driver does not follow best practices and federal regulations, it can result in serious injury or even death.

If you, or your loved one, have been involved in an accident with a semi truck, finding an experienced lawyer immediately is crucial. Trucking companies are known for swooping into accident investigations quickly, and they may offer compensation that is significantly less than you are entitled to.

Call our team at MacCloskey, Kesler & Associates. We are not intimidated by large trucking companies and keep your best interests at the forefront. Contact us today to get started.

Distracted Driving Dangers

Distracted Driving Dangers

When you jump in your car to head home from a busy day at work, have you ever texted your family to know you are on your way home? Or, perhaps you have noticed the driver in the car next to you checking their phone while at a stoplight. For most of us, even the most cautious drivers, witnessing (or participating) in distracted driving can feel like a normal part of driving.

Unfortunately, distracted driving is a serious public health issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 3,000 deaths were caused by distracted driving in the course of one year. Here’s what you need to know about distracted driving and how you can play a role in keeping the roadways safer.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is operating a vehicle while paying attention to something else. Texting while driving, talking on the phone, checking your email or scrolling through your social media newsfeed while driving (or while stopped at a stoplight) are all examples of distracted driving. While distracted driving has increased thanks to portable technology like smartphones, it has always been around. Distracted driving can also be putting on your makeup while on the way to work or turning around to scold your child in the backseat.

How Can I Stop?
There are legal implications if you are caught talking on your phone or operating your phone while driving. However, this intervention does not always keep drivers from checking their phone while on the move. You can make a positive step in the right direction by committing to eliminating distracted driving from your regular routine.

You can remind yourself about your commitment by keeping your phone in your purse and in the backseat while driving or by disabling app notifications while driving to keep you from being tempted. Your example is especially important if you have kids in the car, as these future drivers will look to you as they learn what is (and is not) acceptable in the vehicle.

Distracted driving can have fatal consequences. Put your cell phone away and teach your kids to do the same.

If you have been involved in a vehicle accident, give the team at MacCloskey Kesler & Associates a call. We will hear your story and develop a plan to get you the compensation you deserve.

Illinois Car Seat Law and Recommendations

Illinois Car Seat Law and Recommendations

Anytime you sit behind the wheel of your vehicle, you are responsible for your safety and for the safety of others on the road and in your car. When you become a parent, your responsibility doubles as you become in charge of the safety of the children riding in your vehicle as well. Fortunately, we have the tools and resources to keep kiddos safe while in the car that were unheard of only a few decades ago. However, with all the changing recommendations and state laws, it can be hard to keep up with child restraints.

Here’s what you need to know, and to pass along to any caregiver who drives your children around.

New Illinois Law for Kids 2 and Under

A new law went into effect in Illinois at the beginning of this year regarding child car seats. Currently, all children two years old and younger must sit in a rear-facing car seat. While this practice has been recommended by pediatricians for years, it is only been Illinois law since January of 2019. If the child weighs more than 40 pounds, they can be turned around to face forward.

Preschoolers and Elementary Schoolers

When your child turns 4, if they have outgrown the height and weight limitations of the car seat, you can begin to use a booster seat. Remember, keeping your child in their five-point harness car seat is ideal as long as they meet the height and weight requirements. A booster is a safe option to keep your child safe by using the car’s seat belt. Your child can stop using the booster seat once they can sit on the car’s seat with their feet touching the floor and the seat belt lies flat along their shoulder to hip.

Information for Caregivers

You may be brushed up on your car seat safety, but others may not be. Talk to grandparents, babysitters, and other caregivers about car seat safety and your expectations. If caregivers are not sure if their car seat is installed correctly, encourage them to go to their local police station for assistance before putting your child in their car.

Driving your kids from place to place is a big responsibility. You can keep them safer when you choose to use car seats correctly.