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Personal Injury Risks of Riding in a LimousineTwenty people died as a result of a recent stretch limousine accident in New York, highlighting the potential dangers of these vehicles. Renting a limousine seems like a practical and responsible action for a large group of people going out for an evening of fun that may involve alcohol. In the case of the New York accident, 17 friends were heading for a birthday party at a brewery. Stretch limousines do not follow the same safety regulations as normal vehicles. As a result, passengers can be at greater risk of suffering injuries during a crash.

Design

Major car manufacturers do not produce the stretch limousines that you see on the road. Limousines are normal vehicles that have been extended by cutting the vehicle in half and adding a longer middle section. The smaller company that made the limousine may have removed some of the safety features that the vehicle needed to pass federal safety standards, such as:

  • Side-impact airbags;
  • Reinforced rollover bars; and
  • Easily accessible exits.

There are no federal safety standards when a vehicle is modified into a limousine. Illinois requires modified vehicles to be inspected every six months but puts no limit on how large a modified limousine can be.

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Stricter Distracted Driving Law Could Cause More License SuspensionsIllinois lawmakers are trying to further crack down on distracted driving by changing the state's traffic laws. Starting July 1, 2019, using an electronic communication device while driving will be a moving violation for first-time offenders. Under the current law, this offense is not a moving violation until the second time a driver commits it. This minor change to the traffic law could add up to Illinois more frequently suspending drivers’ licenses because of multiple moving violations.

Consequences

The fines remain the same for using an electronic communications device while driving. The only difference is that they will apply after the first violation instead of the second. They include:

  • $75 for a first offense;
  • $100 for a second offense;
  • $125 for a third offense; and
  • $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

You face consequences that are more severe than fines if you commit this violation multiple times. Illinois will suspend your driver’s license if you are ticketed for three moving violations within a year’s time. The change to the law means that your first electronic device offense will count towards that moving violation total instead of being a warning. Illinois assigns points to each moving violation, which it adds up to determine how long your suspension will last. The electronic device violation is 20 points, and committing that same violation three times within a year could result in a three-month license suspension.

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Four Personality Conflicts that Cause DivorceOne key to an enduring marriage is having personality traits the complement each other or can at least coexist. Couples often realize major personality conflicts and end their relationship before they get married. However, some people divorce after years of marriage because their personalities are incompatible. It can take that long for personality conflicts to become irreconcilable differences because:

  • Living together makes it more difficult to ignore personality differences;
  • Conflicting personalities can gradually wear someone out; and
  • Personality traits can grow stronger.

Each personality trait has another trait on the opposite end of the spectrum. Different personalities can complement or conflict with each other, depending on the trait:

  1. Extroversion vs. Introversion: An extrovert can encourage an introvert to be more social, but a relationship works best when the couple has similar levels of extroversion or introversion. An extrovert craves social activity, which an introvert finds exhausting and uncomfortable. An introvert prefers small gatherings and quiet nights at home, which can drive an extrovert stir-crazy. Going against your natural extroversion or introversion for the sake of your spouse can make you feel tense and resentful.
  2. Organized vs. Impulsive: Some people need structure in their lives, while others dislike being tied down by plans. Organized and impulsive people can complement each other. One person may be too rigid in his or her structure, and the other person may be irresponsible because of a lack of structure. However, a couple will grow frustrated with each other if neither person is willing to change his or her organized or impulsive personality.
  3. Agreeableness vs. Dominance: The difference between these personalities is people's abilities to sacrifice what they want to make others happy. A dominant spouse will often dictate what the couple does, with the agreeable spouse consenting to keep the peace. The dominant spouse may not see a problem with this relationship, but the agreeable spouse may become resentful.
  4. Traditional vs. Adventurous: Traditional people like the comfort of familiar places and activities, but adventurers like new experiences. An adventurer can coax a traditional person out of his or her comfort zone, especially when they are a young couple. As they grow older, a traditional person will want a quiet and structured life, which the adventurer may not be content with.

The Future of Your Marriage

Spouses with contrasting personalities can make their marriage work if they can accept their differences. However, divorce allows you to live your preferred lifestyle and find someone else who shares your personality. A McHenry County divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can explain how divorce can help you start a happier life. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Are You Required to Accept Light Duty Work?Returning to your job after a work-related injury can be a gradual process. To start, you may be physically unable to do any work while you are recovering. With workers’ compensation coverage, you should receive Temporary Total Disability benefits, which are two-thirds of your gross average weekly wage during the past 52 weeks. As your condition improves, you may be able to perform tasks at your job that fit within your physical limitations. This is called light duty work and can be beneficial to both you and your employer. However, you should not be pressured into taking light duty work if you believe you are not physically capable of doing the job.

Advantages of Light Duty Work

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to try to provide work opportunities for injured employees who are capable of performing some tasks. However, employers can also benefit from offering light duty work. The employee will continue to receive TTD benefits if the employer cannot accommodate his or her work restrictions. When the employee accepts light duty work:

  • The employer gets some productivity out of the employee; and
  • The employee receives work pay and Temporary Partial Disability benefits.

TPD benefits supplement an employee’s pay when doing light duty work. The benefits are two-thirds of the difference between the worker’s gross weekly wage for the past 52 weeks and the wage the worker is receiving for the light duty work.

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Safety Features Could Reduce Crashes with Large TrucksFrom 2005 to 2009, the number of driving fatalities from accidents with large trucks precipitously dropped from 5,049 to 3,147 people, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Since then, the fatalities have increased to 3,986 people in 2016, and the number of truck-related accidents has also increased. Safety experts often blame distracted driving for increases in accident rates. Drivers of both trucks and smaller vehicles may be paying too much attention to electronic devices in their vehicles. Other safety advocates believe mandatory safety standards for all trucks in the U.S. could decrease the number of fatalities and serious injuries.

Safety Devices and Rules

Some trucking companies have voluntarily installed equipment on their vehicles that safety studies have concluded reduce the number and severity of crashes. Safety advocates, such as the Truck Safety Coalition, focus on three devices that they believe federal regulators should make mandatory for all trucks:

  1. Automatic Emergency Braking: An automatic braking system could prevent trucks from rear-ending vehicles. Truck drivers need to respond quickly when braking because the size of the vehicle makes it take longer to stop.
  2. Front and Side Underride Guards: Smaller vehicles can suffer severe damage if they slide underneath a truck during an accident. The U.S. already requires rear underride guards on trucks, but guards on the front and sides could protect drivers from more angles.
  3. Speed Limiters: A speed limiter prevents a truck from exceeding a certain speed, making it slightly less dangerous in the event of an accident. Advocates would like the device to cap trucks’ maximum speed to 60 miles per hour.

Safety advocates also oppose any legislation that would increase the maximum allowed size of large trucks. Bigger and longer trucks would take even more time stop and would have larger blind spots. A heavier truck crashing into a vehicle would cause a more severe impact and injuries.

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