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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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Reckless Driving Charge Needs Proof of IntentReckless driving is one of the more serious traffic offenses that you can be charged with. Illinois law defines reckless driving as a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of yourself and others. Examples of reckless driving include:

  • Traveling 35 miles per hour or more over the speed limit;
  • Swerving between lanes without signaling; and
  • Using an incline to become airborne.

A reckless driving conviction is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by as long as one year in jail and a fine of as much as $2,500. The charge becomes aggravated reckless driving — a class 4 felony — if someone is injured as a result of your reckless driving. Defending yourself against a reckless driving charge requires forcing prosecutors to provide evidence of your alleged driving behavior.

Pushing for Specifics

When you contest your reckless driving charge, prosecutors must explain what you did that constituted reckless driving and present proof of their accusations. There are typically three forms of evidence in a reckless driving case:

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Posted on in Divorce

Health Risks for Seniors Who DivorceDivorce can negatively affect the lifestyle of people of any age, but the health consequences are direr for senior citizens. Gray divorce, which is divorce that occurs between spouses age 50 and older, has greatly increased in recent decades, despite other age groups showing modest growth or decline. People’s health natural becomes more fragile as they grow older, and the emotional impact of divorce can worsen their health.

Stress and Depression

Divorcing after a long marriage is stressful and traumatic, even if you know that the divorce is in your best interest. You feel uncertain about your future without your spouse as your companion, and the financial agreement may have unsettled your careful retirement plans. Bad experiences from your marriage may also haunt your thoughts, causing symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Prolonged feelings of stress and trauma often cause a deep depression, and it can be difficult to escape the cycle of depression if you are retired and living alone.

Physical Symptoms

Stress and depression can strain your body because of the way your body responds to these emotions. Stress causes your body to release adrenal hormones, which can be harmful if your body does it continuously. Senior citizens are less capable of handling the strain of stress hormones. As a result, stress and depression can increase the risk of:

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Injured Workers' Benefit Fund Gives Relief When Employer Lack InsuranceEmployers make their workers vulnerable when they do not provide the legally required workers’ compensation insurance. Injured workers may struggle to pay their medical expenses, particularly if their injuries prevent them from working. As an injured worker, you can file a lawsuit against your employer if it does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. Illinois provides an alternative compensation source through its Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund. The state maintains the fund with the monetary penalties that it collects from employers without workers’ compensation insurance. However, you must complete an arbitration process to collect from the IWBF, and the benefits can be less than what you would have received from a workers’ compensation settlement.

Receiving IWBF Benefits

Workers are eligible for IWBF pay only if their employers:

  • Did not have workers' compensation insurance; or
  • Refuse to pay the workers’ compensation benefits that were awarded to the worker.

You must file your IWBF claim with the Illinois State Treasurer, which manages the fund. During arbitration, the Illinois Attorney General’s office and possibly your employer will represent the defense, claiming that you should not receive the benefits. If the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission awards you the IWBF benefits, then you have 90 days to respond by filing for the benefits.

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Sun Glare Does Not Waive Vehicle Accident LiabilitySun glare can be just as dangerous of a vision hazard while driving as heavy rain or fog. National traffic crash studies estimate that sun glare causes a couple hundred accidents each year, but the number may not represent all of the sun-related crashes because police reports often cite other factors as the cause. Sun glare can temporarily blind you to obstacles in the road and is most prevalent at dawn and dusk during the spring and fall months. Drivers cannot use sun glare blindness as a defense against liability for a traffic crash that they caused.

Preventing Glare

You are expected to take necessary safety precautions against being blinded by sun glare or causing an accident if you are blinded. Unlike with severe weather, sun glare is not legally an “Act of God” that makes you unable to control your driving. There are several ways you can protect yourself and other drivers:

  1. Wear Polarized Sunglasses: Completely polarized sunglasses should eliminate the glare on your eyes, though you may still not have optimal vision.
  2. Clear Off Your Dashboard: Reflective objects on your dashboard can shine the sunlight onto your windshield and into your eyes.
  3. Use Additional Sun Visors: The standard sun visors in a vehicle may not deflect the sun from all angles. Installing additional sun visors can cover the gaps.
  4. Clean Your Windshield: Streaks and marks on your windshield can make the glare worse and reduce your visibility further.
  5. Change Your Driving Route: The sun will always rise from the east in the morning and set in the west during the evening. You can try to avoid driving in a direction that makes you face the sun.
  6. Drive at a Different Time: You can adjust your driving schedule so you are not traveling during the morning and evening hours when the sun glare is at its worst.

If the sun glare is blinding you, you should reduce your driving speed or pull over and stop. You cannot expect your visibility to suddenly improve.

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