We talk a lot about what you can and should do if you have been injured in a car accident. But what if there was a way you could avoid those injuries in the first place, or limit the severity of those injuries?
The Daily Herald recently reported on some new laws in Illinois, which can help drivers save lives. The first is by using rear-facing car seats for toddlers under two years old. The second is a move called the “Dutch reach,” which can help prevent drivers opening doors into oncoming bicyclists.
There are two other laws, as well, which you should be aware of before you get into your car. They can help save lives as well, though the effect is more cumulative than immediate.
Rear-facing child seats
Illinois, effective the first of January 2019, became the 11th state to require that children under two-years-of-age be placed in a rear-facing child seat unless the child is 40 inches or taller or weighs 40 pounds or more. Per the Herald, “The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and AAA have made recommendations that children are safer rear-facing longer based on crash testing and science.” While first offenses cost $75, the major thing drivers with young children should know is that forward-facing seats are dangerous. Young kids will adapt.
According to the chairman of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, car crashes are the leading reason kids die. Rear-facing seats should help reduce head and spinal cord injuries. Data from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that almost 60% of car seats are improperly installed.
The “Dutch reach” solution
This strategy, started in the Netherlands, is useful in helping prevent drivers and passengers from opening doors that cause bicycle riders to fall when they come into contact with the door. The Dutch reach works like this: “instead of opening the car door with your hand that’s closest to the door, drivers and passengers should reach over with their farthest hand after parallel parking. That movement forces drivers to see the rearview mirror and observe oncoming traffic, particularly bikes.”
As of 2019, the Dutch reach maneuver is now a standard question on Illinois driver’s license examinations. (Alas, getting “doored’ is a common type of bike accident in Chicago, too.)
Texting while driving violations
Texting while driving will now result in a moving violation in Illinois. If a driver receives three moving violations in a year, his or her license will be suspended. Texting while driving has been proven to be extremely dangerous and often fatal. Drivers who text don’t have their hands on the wheel, their eyes on the road, and their minds on how to handle emergencies. Moving violations usually trigger higher insurance premiums than non-moving violations.
This 2017 law is now being enforced by the Illinois State Police. This law “requires people to use the left lane on highways and interstates only for passing or to avoid a traffic situation, not to hog it continuously.”
At Gainsberg Law, our Chicago car accident lawyers help accident victims and the families of deceased victims get justice when drivers fail to use the caution needed to save lives. We file wrongful death actions against car drivers who speed, drive while distracted, drive while drunk, or cause a fatality for any reason. For more than 20 years, we’ve been fighting aggressively to hold irresponsible drivers liable for the tragedies they cause. To understand your rights and wrongful death damages, please call us at 312.313.1621 or make an appointment by filling our contact form.