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Takata apology, Chicago product liability lawyersThe Takata airbag recall has not gotten better in the months since it started. More vehicles have been added to the recall list and more deaths have been linked to defective Takata airbags. A national recall started in November 2014, but Takata is just now apologizing for the deaths and injuries their defective airbags have caused. Is their apology too late for some consumers and automotive companies though?

An apology and deep bow from Takata’s chief executive, Shigehisa Takada, cannot bring back those who have died to their family members or heal the injuries the defective car part has caused many consumers. With the timeline for fixing all the recalled airbags growing with the increase in cars added to the recall, Fiat Chrysler informed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation it will no longer use Takata inflators in replacement of driver’s side airbags in its cars. It is looking at other alternatives to fix the defective part.

The Senate Committee has been going through all the documents Takata gave them and has released a report stating Takata has stopped performing safety audits. In the report, citing internal emails, the committee wrote that Takata may have been able to prevent this recall if it had proper safety and auditing committees in place to check that the correct protocols were being followed. This neglect on Takata’s part that there was no safety committee in place is troubling.

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truck driver texting, Chicago personal injury lawyerDistracted driving is becoming one of the most cited causes for motor vehicle accidents in the United States with the increased use of cellphones while driving. More than nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured each day in accidents caused by distracted driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all drivers involved in interstate commerce or intrastate transportation of hazardous materials and inter- and intrastate Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) drivers. FMCSA describes commercial drivers as those who operate buses and large trucks, such as single unit trucks or tractor-trailer trucks. These drivers make up approximately 5.6 million drivers in the United States.

With so many commercial vehicle drivers on the roadways, FMCSA banned the use of texting for commercial truck drivers in 2010 to help prevent distracted driving. Companies are not allowed to require commercial drivers to text or call from their cell phones while driving.

The FMCSA regulations prohibit text messaging, reaching for or holding a cell phone in their hand or making phone calls that require the driver to push more than one button while they are operating commercial vehicles. If commercial drivers are found to be breaking the regulations, they can be fined up to $2,750 and have their CDL revoked for multiple offenses. The company the driver works for may also be fined up to $11,000.

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DUI accident victims, personal injury lawyer in ChicagoAccording to statistics from the Illinois Secretary of State, nearly 10,000 drivers were arrested for DUI in Cook County in 2012, leaving thousands of victims vulnerable to motor vehicle accident injuries and fatalities.

In recent weeks, the Chicago Tribune reported a man was charged with leaving the scene of an accident that left a woman trapped inside her vehicle upside down. Later the woman was taken to the hospital where her left hand had to be amputated as a result of the collision.

Police on the scene were able to capture the license plate number of the driver responsible and he was taken in and held on $100,000 bond. Investigation into the case had not yet reported alcohol-related driving as a factor, but regardless of a DUI charge, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury or death is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. It carries a possible sentence of jail time of up to three years.

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This past week, Toyota announced two safety recalls for its popular Prius and Corolla models. Toyota explained that these recalls are necessary to correct steering shaft problems resulting from a manufacturing error and faulty electric water pumps. In the case of the water pumps, the electric motor that drives the water pump can shut off. According to reports, this error can cause the hybrid system to stop while the vehicle is being driven.

Thankfully, no crashes or injuries resulting from these defects have been reported at this time. Hopefully, these recalls will prevent any accidents from occurring at all.

In light of Toyota’s well-publicized safety problems over the past few years, as a Chicago car accident lawyer, I am surprised that Toyota has not taken steps to prevent defective automobiles from being manufactured and sold. If you or someone you know owns a Toyota Prius or Corolla, I urge you to take your vehicle to a Toyota dealership immediately to ensure that it is safe to drive.

A Chicago school bus driver was arrested for driving under the influence while taking children to school last Tuesday. The arrest occurred when a good samaritan waved down a police officer after nearly being rear-ended by the school bus multiple times. The officer signaled for the bus driver to stop, but was initially ignored by the bus driver. When the driver eventually stopped for the police officer, the officer smelled alcohol on the bus driver’s breath and noticed that his eyes were bloodshot. The bus driver subsequently failed a field sobriety test and was arrested.

After the arrest, Chicago Public Schools officials announced that they intended to fine Jewel’s Bus Co., which employed the driver. Unsurprisingly, the driver has also been banned from driving buses for Chicago Public Schools.

As a car accident attorney in Chicago, I know a drunk driver in any situation poses a significant risk to himself and all others on the road. It is almost unfathomable to think that a person could be so selfish, careless, or addicted to alcohol that he would get behind the wheel of a school bus carrying innocent children while intoxicated. I am very thankful that the police officer was able to stop this bus driver before a horrible tragedy occurred. I hope that this drunk driver is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I also hope that his bus company and the Chicago Public Schools improve their screening procedures for bus drivers as a result of this incident.

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