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wrong-way crashesIn mid-November, a woman drove the wrong way on the Stevenson Expressway, causing a grisly head-on collision in which two women were seriously injured, according to the Chicago Tribune. The woman is facing a DUI charge in connection with the incident, as well as a charge of reckless driving. According to the Tribune, police received several calls alerting authorities to the wrong-way driver before the accident occurred. The driver was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the other vehicle “had to be cut from her vehicle and was taken to an area hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries,” reports the Tribune.

According to a special report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), wrong-way crashes occur relatively infrequently, and account for only roughly three percent of all accidents on divided highways. The severity of these accidents is disproportionate to other types of crashes, however. As such, wrong-way accidents are much more likely to result in serious injury or death of the people involved.  One study reported by the NTSB found that while only 0.3 percent of all highway accidents resulted in death, 22 percent of wrong-way collisions were fatal.

Like the recent crash on I-55, most drivers involved in a wrong-way collision are impaired by alcohol at the time of the incident, according to the NTSB. In a NTSB study conducted between 2004 and 2009, reports showed that of the 1,566 wrong-way drivers in the multi-year set, 936 (60 percent) showed indications of having been drinking or intoxicated at the time of crash. Nearly 60 percent of these drivers had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at or above 0.15 at the time of crash, nearly twice the legal limit. The legal driving BAC limit in all states is 0.08.


designate a sober driverDue to the upcoming holiday season, travel and traffic increase this time of year. Unpredictable Illinois weather causes riskier driving situations with higher levels of precipitation leading to dangerous conditions on the road. When mixed with celebratory occasions and holiday gatherings where alcohol is involved, this can become a deadly combination.

The most recent statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that in a single year, 886 motor vehicle accidents resulted in fatalities in the United States. Of those accidents, 436 people were killed in accidents where the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was over the legal .08 limit.

There are legal consequences for Illinois drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even a first time conviction can carry a penalty of:


right to compensationA motor vehicle accident can be a painful experience, one a person often wants to put behind them as quickly as possible. A car accident victim may not immediately think about contacting an attorney to help with their personal injury claim. However, individually settling a claim with an insurance company may not result in the full amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.

A compensation award can help pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs directly related to the accident. Often injuries immediately arise at the time of the collision, but there are some that may take days or weeks to manifest.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 22 percent of the nation’s injuries are due to motor vehicle accidents. Common injuries include:


DUI with minor presentDriving under the influence carries strict penalties when pulled over, no matter whether you have passengers in the car or if it is a first-time offense. According to Cyber Drive Illinois, a publication of Illinois&s attorney general’s office, if a driver fails chemical testing when pulled over for driving under the influence, he will automatically have his driving privileges suspended for six months. In addition to the suspension, the driver faces the possibility of re-invocation after one month, depending on the specifics of the incident.

If a person is pulled over and fails chemical testing within five years after a previous offense, his driving privileges will be suspended for one full year, without the possibility of lessening the punishment at any point during that year. If a driver refuses chemical testing, he could have his license suspended for one year if it is a first-time offense and for up to three years if it is not the first-time offense. These laws may sound harsh, but are important. Deterring drunk drivers makes the roads safer for everyone.

Laws are not only in place to protect other drivers on the road—they are in place to protect passengers who are riding with the drunk driver as well. If a person is convicted of drinking and driving with a minor in the car, for example, the law is especially strict. According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 20 percent of motor vehicle deaths among children aged 14 and younger in 2012 were those involved in alcohol-related crashes. More than 50 percent of these 239 kids were killed in accidents in which the driver of the vehicle had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.


Dram Shop Laws Rarely Enforced

Posted on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 in Drunk Driving Accidents

dram shop lawIf you have had a loved one injured or killed by a drunk driver, it can seem as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. This is especially true if the person at fault for the accident is no longer capable of being held responsible for the action, or if for some reason he or she was either found not guilty or given a highly reduced sentence for the crime. The perpetrator of the crime is not the only person, however, who can be held responsible in the event of death or injury caused by drunk driving. Dram shop laws were passed so that liquor stores or bars that served visibly intoxicated people could be held liable for such irresponsibility.

The first Dram Shop Act was passed in Illinois in 1934. For the Dram Shop Act to be held up in court, according to the State of Illinois, “the plaintiff must prove that intoxication was caused by consumption of liquor provided by a defendant and that the injury, property damage, or loss of means of support or loss of society was caused by the act of an intoxicated person.” Each year the monetary limits of compensation are adjusted for inflation, reports the State Legislature, but as of 1998 these were $45,000 for personal injury and property damage and $55,000 for loss of support or society.

The rules may seem strict, but there are few highly publicized incidents in which such rules are enforced. According to a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania publication, a state that has similar dram shop laws to Illinois, such laws can be difficult to prove in court. Not only can the owner and operator of a tavern or bar be held liable for serving a visibly intoxicated person who later causes harm as a result of his intoxication, so can the person who served him. Industry officials balk at dram shop laws, claiming that it is nearly impossible for an employee to be a mind reader, and that making the call to cut off a customer is not a fair responsibility for an often-minimum-wage-paid worker. Florida and Nevada are the only states in which no dram shop laws exist at the state level.


Contact a Lake County Vehicle Accident Attorney Who is Ready to Help You

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact our office. Call 847-662-3303 to set up a free initial consultation at one of our four convenient locations. There is no risk because we only collect fees if you collect compensation. With offices in Libertyville, Waukegan, Richmond, and Chicago, we represent clients in Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County, and McHenry County.

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