Ralph Nader worked as a lawyer while he researched his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed. The book focused on the Chevrolet Corvair, but many of the problems he detailed, including the lack of standard seatbelts, metal dashboards and steering wheels, and car doors that popped open or off in an accident, applied to every auto involved in highway smash-ups. In response to the book, Congress passed the Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Since that time seat belts, air bags, crash tests and manufacturers’ recalls can be traced to Congress and to Nader’s book. Nadar has continued to work for consumer protection, founding the U.S. Public Interest Group (PIRG) as well as Center for Auto Safety, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility, and the Clean Water Action Project. His groups were instrumental in helping to pass the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1974 and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the Consumer Product Safety Administration. Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigates product problems, and once it determines that a product is unsafe, CPSC issues a recall. Often, by the time a recall is issued, the dangerous products are already for sale in stores and on websites. Once a recall is issued, stores and retailers are required to remove the product from their shelves, disallow the product to be sold to customers and post a written notice that the item(s) have been recalled. If the product is sold through a website, the merchant or seller must disallow customers from purchasing the product, post a warning or recall notice on their home page and contact the customers via their email or shipping address. Even second hand and resale stores must comply with this law, posting notices of recalled products and not allowing them to be sold or purchased. In Illinois, the Illinois Attorney General enforces the Children’s Product Safety Act. The Act requires manufacturers and retail suppliers to keep recalled products off the market and also to inform consumers who have already purchased the product with notice that the product has been recalled. Illinois law defines a child product as any item designed for the use or care of a child under the age of 9 years old. Products include toys and nursery products including cribs and[READ MORE…]
It’s the law in Chicago, and many suburban municipalities, that you must keep sidewalks shoveled. According to Chicago’s code, “Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any building or lot of ground abutting upon any public way or public space shall remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk.” Residents who do not follow this rule could face fines of $50. Businesses can be fined $250-500 per day. More details on Chicago’s rule and tips on how to keep your sidewalks clear are below. When should I shovel? If the snow stops before 4PM in Chicago, your sidewalk needs to be cleared within 3 hours, unless it is Sunday. After 4PM, or on Sundays, you’ll need to clear the walk by 10AM the following day. The municipal code recommends clearing a 5-foot-wide path, wherever possible. Both snow and ice need to be removed. What should I use? Compacted snow quickly turns to ice; timely removal is important. During a snowstorm, you should shovel the walks frequently to prevent build up. A sharp, metal snow shovel is the most effective tool for removing snow that has been walked on or otherwise compacted. How much snow do I need to clear to comply with the ordinance? The City of Chicago municipal code requires individuals to clear a 5-foot wide path along the sidewalk, where conditions allow. This width allows pedestrians in wheelchairs, people with children in strollers, students walking to school, and individuals with assisted devices mobility and access. What is the best way to remove snow from the sidewalk? • Remove snow along ALL of the sidewalks adjacent to your property. • Move snow to your yard or the parkway adjacent to your property. • Do not push snow from the sidewalk into the street. • Do not cover the crosswalks with snow. • Do not block alley entrances with snow What if a sidewalk is not cleared? Chicago residents can report un-cleared sidewalks to the City’s 311 service line. This is only for snow on sidewalks, not on streets or in parking lots. What if I am unable to shovel? Chicago has a Snow Corps for helping seniors and people with disabilities. (Chicago Snow Corps is a new program that connects volunteers with residents in need of snow removal – such as seniors and residents with disabilities.) While winter can be hazardous for everyone here in[READ MORE…]
As of January 1, 2014, Illinois drivers can now legally drive up to 70 miles per hour on portions of some highways including I-280, I-74, I-80 and I-88. IDOT has been delayed in the installation of new speed limit signs due to the cold weather and unexpected snowfall totals. According to the Illinois State Police, drivers cannot start driving at 70 mph until signs are posted. The new law allows for faster speeds on four-lane divided highways in rural areas. Driving at higher speeds requires your full concentration, especially on highways that serve as major trucking routes. Semi-tractor trailer trucks require at least 100 yards to come to a complete stop when traveling at only 55 mph. In the most recently released National Traffic Highway Safety Administration Traffic Safety Facts report, Illinoissaw a 1% decrease in traffic fatalities from 2010 to 2011. Males, between the ages of 16-24, comprise the largest group of speeding drivers involved in fatal car crashes. Across the United States, speeding is a major factor in over 30% of all fatal car crashes. Speeding on highways is widespread. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety 2012 report, almost 50% of the drivers surveyed say they have driven at least 15 mph over the speed limit on a highway; one in four claimed that they considered it acceptable to do so. Remember, Illinois has a Basic Speed Law that forbids drivers from going faster than is reasonable and proper based on road conditions, traffic and weather, no matter the posted speed limit. Exercise your proper judgment at all times when driving. If you are in a car accident, consider contacting Ankin Law Offices.
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