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Nearly 12,000 vehicles put out of service in CVSA roadcheck

Truckers in Illinois may remember the International Roadcheck that took place from June 5 to 7. Once a year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds this event across North America, stopping trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles at random for vehicle and driver inspections. Of the 67,502 inspections conducted this year, 45,400 were the comprehensive Level I inspections.

Compared to last year, 2018 saw more inspections conducted and fewer out-of-service orders issued. While this may be an improvement, the fact remains that 11,897 vehicles and 2,664 drivers were put out of service for safety violations. Among those trucks that underwent the Level I inspection, 21.6 percent were put out of service.

Proving negligence as an injured patient

When you suffer injuries as a result of a hospital visit, or if your condition worsens because of a delayed or wrong diagnosis, it is likely that you will feel that you have been failed by your medical practitioners. As a patient in a hospital, you depend on your physicians to an extremely high degree, and it follows that they have a legal duty to provide you with the best possible care.

If you believe that you have unnecessarily suffered at the hands of your doctors and surgeons, it is important to understand how the law works to protect you in this situation. In order to take legal action and successfully make a medical malpractice claim in the state of Illinois, you must adequately show that a doctor, surgeon or hospital acted negligently.

Five all-too-common construction hazards

Falls, struck-by incidents, electrical accidents, caught-in-between incidents and exposure to hazardous materials: these are the five leading causes of death among construction workers in Illinois and across the U.S. 20 percent of all private sector employee deaths are composed of construction site deaths, and this is in spite of the fact that construction workers make up only 6 percent of the population.

To prevent falls, employers must supply personal protective equipment like hard hats and non-skid boots. Work surfaces should be stable and free of holes. Ladders and scaffolding should comply with safety standards. Fall prevention equipment like guardrails and safety nets may also be necessary. To prevent struck-by incidents, employers should have forklifts and other vehicles follow clear routes.

When car accident cases head to court

When people are injured in an Illinois car crash through no fault of their own, they may need to take legal action to pursue compensation for the damages they have suffered. In many cases, insurance companies will offer an out-of-court settlement. However, a proposed settlement may not address all the losses of the accident victim, and it is necessary to move forward to trial. When a personal injury case goes to the courtroom, it will generally operate along standard guidelines.

Both the plaintiff -- the accident victim bringing the claim -- and the defendant will be represented in court by their lawyers. Before the case begins, both sides will submit written documents that address their major claims about the incident. A judge will oversee the case, and in many cases, a jury will also be present to decide on the matter. While jurors are invited randomly, both lawyers will have the opportunity to ask certain questions and exclude some potential jurors.

Ford recalls hybrids over charging cord fire threat

Some Illinois car owners might be affected by the news that Ford has ordered the recall of thousands of plug-in hybrid vehicles after learning that some of their power cords overheated and started fires. The models affected include the Focus hatchback, Fusion sedan and C-Max wagons built between 2012 and 2015. Ford says that it will distribute replacement power cords that automatically stop charging when the plug or wall outlet become dangerously hot.

Charging cords allow plug-in hybrid vehicle owners to eschew dedicated charging centers and connect their cars to regular household electrical outlets. Charging is slow and plug-in hybrid cars are often left charging overnight. Ford discovered that the 120-volt charging cords they used could create extreme heat in outlets or plugs that are worn, corroded, damaged or not on a dedicated circuit. While the car maker was reluctant to go into details, it did admit that a number of fires had been linked to the issue.

The road safety benefits of roundabouts

According to road safety advocates, hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in taxpayer money could be saved each year in Illinois and around the country if some traditional intersections were replaced by roundabouts. Roundabouts, which are often referred to as traffic circles, are ubiquitous in Europe but quite rare in the United States. However, that may change in the years ahead as the safety benefits of replacing traffic lights and stop signs with roundabouts that slow down rather than stop traffic become more widely understood.

Researchers have discovered that replacing intersections with roundabouts actually leads to an increase in collisions but a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries. This is because the accidents that take place on roundabouts are generally low-speed fender benders rather than highway speed head-on or T-bone collisions. Experts say that roundabouts are less deadly because drivers entering them do not have to determine if they have time to clear the intersection before a light changes or an approaching car arrives.

Workers' compensation for a self-employed roofer

If you are self-employed and have a roofing company, you may have concerns about insurance in the event of becoming injured on the job. Roofing has several and many obvious risks associated with it, so it is vital that you cover yourself and any contractors that you employ appropriately.

When you are employed, in almost all cases you will be covered by workers' compensation. However, when you are self-employed, you are not covered by the benefits of workers' compensation automatically, because you must voluntarily cover yourself.

Tips for staying safe on the road

Illinois drivers who want to avoid traffic accidents as much as possible will want to consider some of the following safety tips. Safe driving starts with giving full attention to the road; this means no distracting activities like calling, texting, adjusting the radio, eating or reaching down to pick up fallen items. Children should be securely buckled up so that they, too, do not create distractions.

Unsafe practices like speeding, drunk driving and drowsy driving are to be completely avoided. Even "buzzed" driving impairs one's decision-making abilities and reaction times. Speeding is risky because it gives drivers less time to brake or make other emergency maneuvers. Drowsiness can affect drivers in much the same way as alcohol.

Newly licensed teens can be dangerous drivers

Teen motorists in Illinois may be bigger threats to others on the roadway during the first three months after they receive their licenses. When teens have only a learner's permit, they must drive with adult accompaniment. However, they are legally allowed to travel alone once they get their licenses. The major changes that solo driving can bring were illustrated by one recent study that examined the teen driving safety. This study, which included 90 teens and 131 parents, was conducted by Virginia Tech and the National Institutes for Health.

Teen motorists had dashcams installed in their vehicles to observe both them and the roadway. In addition, software monitored speed and braking. The participants were observed from the time when they first got their learner's permits to the end of their first year as licensed drivers. The study found that newly licensed teens were eight times more likely to have a car accident or a near miss during their first three months with a driver's license in comparison with their last three months with a learner's permit.

Cellphone use may be higher among women drivers

The use of hand-held cellphones, computers and other electronic communications devices by drivers is prohibited in Illinois, but accident statistics suggest that motorists in the state often ignore this law. A team of Australian researchers wanted to find out why so many drivers use cellphones while behind the wheel despite research revealing that doing so can greatly increases their chances of being involved in an accident, and they found that women and inexperienced drivers are particularly prone to this kind of behavior.

Researchers from the Australia Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland reached this conclusion after polling 447 drivers. They also discovered that public information campaigns drawing attention to the dangers of distracted driving may not be having the desired effect. Almost three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they were unconvinced by these messages and only compelling new evidence would change their minds. The findings were published in the international journal Society for Risk Analysis.