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Deadly Collision on Dan Ryan Expwy Results in DUI Charges

Deadly Collision on Dan Ryan Expwy Results in DUI Charges The driver responsible for a deadly collision on the Dan Ryan Expressway last May has been charged with felony aggravated DUI causing death. This particular incident was especially memorable, as the impact of the collision actually knocked the innocent driver over a median and onto train tracks 20 feet below. If there is any silver lining in this story, it is only that the other two vehicle occupants survived the horrific event.

The police report, per ABC 7 news, showed that the drunk driver as just over the legal limit (.09 BAC) and had clearly slammed the brakes right before impact: he decelerated from 85mpg to 24mph at the moment of impact. (We speculate, but have no proof, that he may have been distracted.)

There are some lessons to be learned here. First – and we mean this – don’t drive drunk. Not even “just a little” drunk. You could literally kill someone. And if you do, you will go to prison. The drunk driver in this case is 24 years old. He’s the one who called the cops for help. He waited for them to come, knowing he would be tested for alcohol. But he also got behind that wheel after drinking, and a family has been grieving from their loss because of it.

And the driver? He’s going probably going to prison, maybe for up to 12 years. He’ll have a felony record. He will lose some of his rights because of it. Is any of this as horrific as losing a loved one to a drunk driver? No, it’s not. We won’t pretend it is, either. But we tell you this to stress that your life as you know it will end if your reckless actions lead to the death of someone else. It is a lose/lose situation, even if the losses are not evenly split.

Drinking and driving is so, so dangerous. Please – don’t do it. Just stay put or call a car to get you.

Second – and we mean this, too – don’t speed. The Dan Ryan has a speed limit of 55mph; the driver was doing 30mph over the speed limit up until a moment before impact. On average, a vehicle slows at about 15 feet per second, and the average reaction time of a person hitting the brakes is about 1.5 seconds. Since alcohol skews our perception of time and our ability to react, we can assume he slammed his brakes a few moments before impact, but the force of the crash was still enough to knock that car literally off the road. Even if the driver hadn’t been drinking, there is every chance that just be speeding, he would have caused that deadly accident.

So please – don’t speed. It really is one of the most dangerous things you can do.

We need a new plan for stopping drunk driving in Illinois

A few months ago, we made a point that Illinois has a drunk driving problem. And it does: drunk driving accounts for about 20% of all fatal traffic accidents in the state. One of the more chilling aspects of our research was learning that the early decrease in drunk driving fatalities that occurred as Uber and Lyft entered cities eventually leveled off. In other words, despite having more options to avoid drunk driving, people went right back to driving drunk.

So clearly, just giving people more options isn’t working. Some states are trying to push through lower BAC limits, but we’re not sure that would work either. The .08 BAC in Illinois hasn’t stopped people from drinking and driving; why would a .05 BAC do the trick? Sobriety checkpoints don’t work. Ignition interlocks only work on people who are trying to drive their own cars after they have been arrested. “Don’t drink and drive” campaigns may reduce the number of teen accidents, but they don’t appear to work on adults.

One thing that may stem the tide is a funny little rule tucked into President Biden’s Infrastructure Act. There’s a mandate in there that “requires automakers to install new technology in vehicles to prevent motorists from driving intoxicated. As reported by the Associated Press, with the provision, Congress is pushing for the monitoring systems to begin rolling out in new vehicles no later than 2026.”

Why we must be on our guard while driving in Chicago

We are about to enter the “drunk season” – the holidays. Thanksgiving, New Year, and various religious holidays are times of celebration, and celebration often means more people are drinking. So now is the time we must be vigilant and aware of our surroundings. If there’s a car near you that looks like its driver is intoxicated, just get out of Dodge as soon as you can. Turn down a side street or move into another lane: make space between you.

And remember that speeding is common this time of year, too. The college kids are home from school and the tourists are visiting, which can increase traffic on the roads. The holiday sales are about to hit, and for some people, it’s much easier to drive to the shopping so they can load up their trunks, rather than carrying their bags on the bus or the train. Commuters and residents who don’t adapt to the extra traffic may find themselves hitting the gas to make up time. Add this to icy, slushy roads, and you really do increase your chance of injury in a car accident.

Gainsberg Law has been fighting on behalf of the injured for years. If you or your loved one was hurt by a drunk or reckless driver, we want to help. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago car accident attorney, please call us at 312-600-9585 or complete our contact form. We serve clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois.