How to Drive Safely Through a Railroad Crossing

Detroit can be described in three words, “The Motor City.” Ford Motor Company, one of the big three automobile manufacturers, was founded in Detroit in 1903. Over 100 years later, their commitment to the city remains strong, clearly evidenced by Ford announcing their intention to revive Michigan Central Station. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Bill Ford discussed his plans to transform the former train station from a dilapidated building into a thriving new Ford campus. Current plans suggest that in 2022, Detroiters will be able to walk into Michigan Central station and find, “coffee shops, restaurants and shopping” areas. The rest of the 18 ft. building will be dedicated to office spaces, which will be the source of 2,500 jobs for Ford employees!

While it has been idle since its operations were terminated in 1988, Michigan Central Station used to be a bustling train depot, seeing passengers frequently arrive and depart on their journeys. It’s current run-down, graffiti covered walls do not accurately paint a picture of what this building used to mean for the city. In fact, Historic Detroit depicts Michigan Central Station as, “Detroit’s Ellis Island” while it was in operation.

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Even though this particular station is no longer in service, trains continue to be an important mode of transportation. According to the Association of American Railroads, freight trains transport 5 million tons of materials and goods across America every day! In addition, companies like Amtrak allow passengers to travel throughout the country by means of rail transport.

Michigan drivers are likely to encounter railroad crossings during their travels throughout the state, or even across the country. Knowledge of how to approach and pass through a crossing may help drivers from getting into train accidents. It's important for car drivers to be alert at train crossings because because train crews do not have the ability to swiftly stop a train. Additionally, trains cannot steer to avoid an accident. Car drivers, on the other hand, can control the distance between their vehicle and the train tracks. Operation Lifesaver provides rail safety education to help drivers and pedestrians carefully navigate railroad crossings. The following are their railroad crossing car safety tips.

Railroad Crossing Safety Tips for Drivers

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  • Trains and cars don't mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That's 18 football fields!
  • Never drive around lowered gates — it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the emergency number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on the tracks, get out and get away from the tracks, even if you do not see a train. Locate the Emergency Notification System sign and call the number provided, telling them about the stalled vehicle. If a train is approaching, run toward the train but away from the tracks at a 45 degree angle. If you run in the same direction a train is traveling, you could be injured by flying debris.
  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember it isn't safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
  • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

While Ford Motor Company has not yet revealed any plans to resume rail transport at Michigan Central Station, there are 4,800 public railroad crossings throughout the Great Lakes State. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for regulating the safety of these crossings. If drivers become aware of any safety concerns, they can contact by clicking the button below.

Staying safe while driving through a railroad crossing is primarily in the hands of the automobile driver. Oftentimes, drivers may find themselves in a rush to reach their destination, justifying the choice to forgo driving safety rules. No matter the situation, when approaching a railroad crossing with the warning signals activated, drivers must stop and wait for the train to pass. It might cause a delay, but waiting for the train to pass instead of speeding over the rails, may prevent a serious automobile accident.


When trains are absent, railroad crossings may not seem dangerous. But it’s possible that a train could pass by in a matter of seconds and demolish anything or anyone in its tracks. Drivers should be alert when near a railroad, and stay at a secure distance until it is safe to cross. For a free legal consultation with an motor vehicle accident attorney regarding railroad crossing car crashes or any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Michigan Helps Lead the Country In Autonomous Vehicle Regulations

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Trying to keep up with the fast-growing autonomous car industry, more than 50 bills have been introduced in 20 states to establish some type of regulation for self-driving vehicles. The Detroit Free Press predicts that autonomous vehicles will transform business models by reducing personal car ownership, restructuring urban and suburban development, and eliminating millions of transportation jobs while at the same time creating many more jobs. Michigan was one of the first states that adopted legislation to make it easier for automakers to test self-driving vehicles on a public road without a driver. Governor Rick Snyder said in December, “We should we proud we’re leading the world, right here in Michigan.” 

Legislation in Michigan also “allows automated platoons of trucks to travel together at set speeds” and “allows networks of self-driving cars that can pick up passengers.” Additionally, Ford’s self-driving Fusions and GM’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts have been cleared for more testing. 

Michigan is not alone in passing autonomous vehicle legislation. 21 other states and Washington D.C. have also passed legislation or adopted regulations based on a Governor’s executive order. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

However, the lack of uniformity among states may be confusing for owners of self-driving cars and could potentially harm innovation. Chan Lieu, an advisor to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets (whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft) mentions, “If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different. It’s going to be very, very difficult to build a vehicle to be effectively sold across the country.” This is all the more reason to distinguish states such as Michigan, as leaders in regulating the autonomous vehicle industry. 

Currently, “states are balancing a desire to be viewed as beacons of innovation while also seeking to protect their residents from technology that remains unproven on a large scale.” Federal regulations, on the other hand, may take years to propose and implement new rules on autonomous cars. This timeline may clash with the fast pace self-driving technology is moving at. 
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In the past, individual states have regulated driver behavior while the federal government has regulated the vehicle itself. A House subcommittee was scheduled to meet on June 27, 2017 to discuss several drafts of 14 self-driving bills in Washington D.C. Gary Peters, a US senator representing Michigan, said legislation should be introduced in the next few weeks that will lead to “a complete re-write of federal regulations for motor vehicles when you take the driver out of the car.” US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in Detroit, Michigan last month, that the presidential administration will reveal revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, in order to “incorporate feedback and improvements recommended by numerous stakeholders.” 

Yet with automakers quickly developing autonomous technology, it will likely be up to individual states to create updated regulations as improvements are made. Safety is the main priority for states looking to support advancements while at the same time minimizing motor vehicle collisions. Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said, “We know this technology can save lives. It can mean mobility for millions of people. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we’re tasked with making sure this technology is safe.” 

With Toyota and the University of Michigan collaborating on autonomous vehicles and the US economy preparing for big changes from self-driving cars, it is no surprise that the state of Michigan is heading towards a safe and supportive environment for future technology. In Detroit, major automakers are the backbone of autonomous improvements. USA TODAY Network reports that GM announced the production on 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles at its plant in Orion township last month, fulfilling the company’s promise to help maintain Michigan’s leadership in the autonomous car industry. Ford is also among automakers that have proposed to launch a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. 

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There is no doubt that the Great Lakes State will do innovative things in the coming years as it helps develop and regulate self-driving cars. However, safety is vital when testing new technologies, as even seemingly perfect dream vehicles may put passengers at risk for being involved in motor vehicle crashes. Above all, autonomous vehicles are breaking new ground in the transportation industry, and it will be up to lawmakers-at both state and national levels-to keep up. 


The State of Michigan is the birthplace of cars, and continues to make strides in the automobile industry. As self-driving technology rapidly develops, states like Michigan are working to regulate autonomous vehicles at a similar pace. Safety remains the main priority, as no state wants to compromise the lives of citizens because of a cool car with no one driving it. If you or someone you know has been involved in a severe motor vehicle collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

And The Winner For Most Googled Car In Michigan Is...

A recent analysis of the cars frequently Googled in every state discovered that the Lincoln MKC Compact SUV is the number one vehicle Googled in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. This may come as a surprise to some people, who may have expected a classic Ford or GM model to take the top spot.

Other states had less shocking number ones, such as California’s search for the Tesla 3 and New England’s desire to look up the Volvo XC90. The Buick Cascada, though it only sold 3,445 throughout the country, won over the states of Missouri and Indiana. In addition, the Buick Enclave SUV is No. 1 for North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa, and Kentucky. These findings solidify Buick’s Midwest takeover, at least according to Google. Interestingly enough, a car that Hyundai no longer produces was the leader in two states; the Equus sedan was most searched in Maryland and Virginia. 

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The results of the analysis, done by auto care company Gold Eagle and marketing specialist Digital Third Coast, emphasize the shift in consumer buying patterns from cars to trucks, as a truck or SUV topped the list in 34 states. Still however, the Ford F-150 did not lead a single state, despite its status as America’s best selling vehicle, for longer than Google searches probably existed. Its larger relative, the Ford F-350, led Alaska and Montana, possibly suggesting that car consumers truly do believe bigger is better. 

Some people may have doubts about the link between financial success and number of web searches. They have good reason to; Honda, for example, one of the most distinguished automakers, sold 1.6 million vehicles in the US last year, but failed to gain the largest number of searches in any state. 

When buying a car, people like to stay informed about the newest models and safest features. Word of mouth is always a good way to hear about the most popular cars or the worst parts of driving this or that. But, you also can’t go wrong with good ol' Google. Most importantly, knowledge of one’s vehicle and driver safety are the ultimate steps for motor vehicle operators and nearby pedestrians to take in order to help avoid a becoming involved in a car crash. 

If an online search engine can help keep motorists in the loop, it doesn't matter which car model is number one, as long as driver safety is the main priority.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a civil litigation firm that handles all types of accidents. Whether we're handling a car, truck, bicycle, bus, pedestrian, or horse accident, we work hard to ensure that our client receives any and all benefits they may be entitled to, under Michigan law. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a motor vehicle crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Ford To Create Artificial Intelligence Team for Autonomous Tech Development

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Ford Motor Company plans to accelerate its autonomous technology development by creating a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team. The original Detroit automaker fully understands the future of automobile technology and does not plan on missing out on the growing opportunities. Ken Washington, Ford's Vice President of research and advanced engineering and Chief Technology Officer, stated, “the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the way we get around  —  even in just the next five to 10 years  —  is potentially enormous.”

So, to get ahead of the curve, Ford is collaborating with Argo AI, a startup artificial intelligence company. Argo was co-founded by Bryan Salesky, a former Google autonomous car project team member, and Peter Rander, an engineer for Uber. Per The Detroit News, Washington says that Ford's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team will work with Argo, who will lead the development and design of the brains of Ford’s self driving vehicles, in an effort to advance the automaker's autonomous technology. More specifically, Washington writes on his blog that the main functions of the team will be to evaluate and analyze vehicle sensor technology, machine learning methods, and the development of personal mobility devices, drones and other aerial robotic mechanisms. The team will be working in Dearborn, Michigan with a small branch located next to University of Michigan’s MCity research center for autonomous and connected vehicles.

Michigan Autonomous Car Crash Lawyer

Ford plans to have its self driving vehicle available to the market by 2021. The car will be fully autonomous, and will not include a steering wheel or pedals. Washington told The Detroit Free Press that they are making great progress toward their goal. He stated that the first fleet will most likely be released within the confines of a “geofence,” or virtual geographic boundary, inside a city or campus.

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However, the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team may not only be limited to the advancement of autonomous technology. Ford plans to use the team for ergonomic research as well. The company wants robots to take the place of workers in roles that are more dangerous and life-threatening, in the hopes of reducing worker injuries and in building a safer working environment for all everyone. Aside from their work with Argo, Ford wants its team to continue building relationships with other startup companies and even lead projects with universities including Stanford University, M.I.T., University of Michigan, Purdue University, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and others.

Ford clearly has grand ambitions for the near future and is making bold moves to ensure that they will be successful in their driver-less car pursuits. While autonomous vehicles may help reduce the number of car accident fatalities in the future, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of highway crashes are currently caused by human error. So, until automakers like Ford are successful in implementing autonomous cars into our everyday lives, humans must remember to follow the rules of the road.


Ford should be proud of its Ford Fusion series, one of the main models that is being converted to become autonomous. This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a 5 star safety rating, and the U.S. News gave it a 9.3 out of 10. It is important to note however that while these are excellent safety ratings, no vehicle is considered to be invincible. Any vehicle controlled by a human is potentially prone to being involved in a car accident. If you have been in a car accident or accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our firm helps car accidents identify and receive any benefits they may be intitled to, under Michigan law.

The 23rd Annual Woodward Dream Cruise Is Coming Up!

Residents and visitors to the Motor City are rejoicing as one of Metro Detroit’s most famous events is quickly approaching. The 23rd annual Woodward Dream Cruise will take place on Saturday, August 19th, 2017. For the first time, the Woodward Dream Cruise will be sponsored by Ford Motor Company because General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet brand discretely dropped their sponsorship after 6 years. Mark LaNeve, Vice President of US marketing sales and services for Ford, told the Detroit News, “(The) Dream Cruise is all about the sheer joy and freedom of the automobile, and Ford has always celebrated car culture. From Fiesta to GT, we’re obsessed with making driving fun, and we’re committed to celebrating that passion with enthusiasts of all ages in the birthplace of motoring.” 

Woodward Dream Cruise Car Crash Lawyer

The Dream Cruise originated as a fundraiser for a soccer field in Ferndale in 1995. Nelson House and a group of volunteers were hoping to recreate the old school car heydays of the 1950s and 1960s on Woodward Avenue, which was America’s first highway. To House's surprise, 250,000 people showed up! That was 10 times the expected number! Today, the Woodward Dream Cruise has evolved into the world’s largest one-day automotive event. The Detroit News describes how “spectators and cruisers travel to Metro Detroit, the birthplace of the American automobile, to demonstrate and participate in an event that celebrates an ongoing love affair with the automobile.”

The popularity of the yearly event only confirms the passion for old cars and connections to the auto industry’s long history that people everywhere enjoy. Each year, the Woodward Dream Cruise contributes $237 million to southeast Michigan's economy, along with attracting more than 1.3 million people to the event. The Detroit Free Press says 28% of these visitors are from outside the region. What keeps spectators coming back from more is the consistency of the old cars combined with the latest in motor vehicle technology.

Car Crash Lawyer Michigan Woodward Dream Cruise

President and CEO of the Dream Cruise, Tony Michaels, says, “There’s nostalgia, but we also have to think of younger generations,” other than the 1960s muscle car fans that first originated the event in 1995. Detroit automakers will display their latest performance and technology vehicles alongside the classics, appealing to all ages.  

The Woodward Dream Cruise itself might just be a one day event, but there are some other car related festivities happening in the Metro Detroit area in the days leading up to it. The week leading up to the Cruise will begin with Roadkill Nights on August 12, with Dodges drag racing down a part of Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, Michigan. Last year, the drag racing event was held the day before the Woodward Dream Cruise, but the hope is that moving it a week earlier will make it easier for more people to attend. 

As for the Woodward Dream Cruise attractions, the General Motors design staff will showcase their personal collector cars from 1 PM -7 PM on Tuesday, August 15, at Memorial Park, which is located at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. There will also be displays in Royal Oak, Michigan at Duggan’s Irish Pub and at Normandy Plaza. Ford owner clubs will also show their vehicles at Memorial Park in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. 

The City of Ferndale, Michigan also has its own plans for the Woodward Dream Cruise as they have planned 3 days of Dream Cruise festivities beginning on Thursday, August 17. The events include a live broadcast of Detroit Public TV’s “Dream Cruise Road Show,” vintage police, fire, and military vehicles, TV and movie cars including the Batmobile, Munster Koach, and Monkeemobile, monster trucks, Mustangs of all eras, and a free outdoor screening of 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie. 

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The official start of the Woodward Dream Cruise will technically be on Friday, August 18, with a ribbon cutting at Woodward and 9 Mile in Ferndale, followed by a lights and sirens parade up the avenue in vintage emergency vehicles. As the countdown to the big day begins, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC wants to encourage motor vehicle safety at all times for spectators and drivers alike, so as to help prevent any car crashes or pedestrian accidents. Now, polish your old ‘Stang and roll down the roof, because the Dream Cruise is about to shift into full gear! 


There's just something about driving around in an antique convertible, top down and hair blowing in the summer breeze, that attracts thousands of people to the Woodward Dream Cruise each year. With motor vehicles of every shape and make cruising around Metro Detroit, it is hard for anyone to not enjoy the classic Michigan event. However, having so many drivers and spectators around so many vehicles can also increase the risk of car accidents and pedestrain crashes happening. If you or someone you know have been injured in an automobile crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Virtual Reality Tools Could Help Design Future Cars

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CNN has just brought to light an important tool in developing future automobiles and making them safer on the roadways. The article makes mention of a London-based design firm, Seymourpowell, which is working with cutting edge technology to design and edit car plans in virtual reality, wearing VR headsets and working with a new 3D sketching program. It has been reported that the new VR software speeds up the process of designing vehicles, as opposed to traditional programs like Photoshop.

Here's where the new software steps in. Put on the VR headset and you are transported to a 3D workspace where the view adjusts to your head movements. The left control stick lets you sketch lines, which can be twisted, moved and manipulated with the right one. Then, you can then jump around your digital surroundings with the press of a button.


With so few functions to worry about -- and because you can see the two controllers as if they were your own virtual hands -- the process is surprisingly intuitive.

Automakers are working with this new software too. CNN reports that Ford and Jaguar Land Rover are already using similar VR software for vehicle design and that more car manufacturers are interested in working with this technology as well.

As car manufacturers begin to streamline their design and development processes by taking advantage of emerging virtual reality technologies, it's conceivable that more attention could be provided to auto safety and ensuring that the risk of drivers and occupants sustaining serious injury in auto accidents is further minimized.  


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a civil litigation firm in Birmingham, Michigan, handling cases throughout Michigan. Our law office regularly files car accident lawsuits and seeks compensation for victims who were injured in auto accidents. Contact us for a free legal consultation at 844.464.3476. Speak to an experienced injury lawyer today.

FTC Sued For Approving Used Cars With Recall Defects

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The old adage, "it's too good to be true" comes to mind in the light the news that used cars sale representatives have been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to sell used cars as certified, despite some of them having safety defects. Some of those defects include vehicles or parts under recall that have yet to be fixed. However, used car salespeople can still sell the cars as 'safe' or as subjected to 'rigorous inspection' vehicles just as long as they post a notice prior to the purchase of the vehicle stating that it may be under recall notice and by providing the buyer with the information to discover if the vehicle is under recall. 

CBS News listed that the defects may include exploding faulty Takata air bags in addition to other defects that can cause serious to fatal injuries such as, defective ignition switches, problems with the power steering, and damaged brakes. The FTC came to the decision during a settlement with General Motors (GM) and 2 used car dealers.

Opponents Of Recall Defective Car Sales

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not approve of the FTCs ruling. In fact, the FTC's agreement goes against NHTSA policy. The NHTSA's policy, which they unfortunately don't have the power to enforce, says that used cars must be inspected and fixed before being resold. 

Seconding the NHTSA's view on the issue, Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) said, “The FTCs reckless action will result in more people being killed and injured because of unsafe, defective used cars.” To back up their words with actions, Shahan’s organization is fighting along with a few Democratic senators, the Center for Auto Safety, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group against the FTC. “It’s a dangerous and irresponsible abuse of the commission’s authority,” Shahan continued. Now the FTC is facing a lawsuit from the 3 organizations on the grounds of consumer safety.  

The legislative director for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, Deidre Cummings also said to NBC News that, "The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to crack down on false and misleading advertising, but instead they are encouraging it. They should have protected consumers, but chose to protect reckless car dealers.”

How Defective Car Sales Affect The Auto Industry 

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Many view the FTC's decision as a change in the auto buying industry. This may lead to car dealers altering their policies to reflect monetary benefits for themselves instead of safety measures for the consumers. In fact some changes have already been made. Ford has already modified their policies to include recall defects such as the Takata airbag. Ford Dealers can now sell vehicles with faulty parts as 'certified' as long as the word 'safe' is not utilized at anytime in the sale. Used Ford buyers will then sign an agreement noting that they are aware of the safety issue and agree to be contacted by the Ford dealer once the replacement parts arrive. 

In defense of their new policy, Sara Tatchio of Ford Communications stated that, “The safety of our customers is our top priority. Our dealers must complete all recalls when parts are available. In the extremely rare instance when parts are not available, our policy is that dealers must clearly disclose the situation including printing the open recall information and handing it to the prospective customer. As soon as parts are available, the dealer will then prioritize completing the open recall.”

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves From Recalls

They are few things consumers can do to safeguard themselves from buying a used vehicle that may have recall defects.

  • Look up a vehicle's Identification number (VIN) in the NHTSA’s recall lookup tool. The NHTSA’s system will show any outstanding recalls that have yet to be fixed on the vehicle.
  • Get a vehicle's history report on websites like CarFax to see if the car has been involved in any accidents, if any original parts have been replaced, and if it has been regularly and properly maintained. 
  • Before making a vehicle purchase, ask the salesperson about the history of the car and whether any defects or other safety problems have been made aware to them. 
  • Even if the vehicle list it has been subjected to "rigorous inspection" or as is labeled "safe," get it inspected anyway by a qualified mechanic before buying it. Try to find an auto shop that doesn't have ties to the dealership that the vehicle is being sold from. 

These tips are not 100% effective in every used car buying scenario but in general, they may ease the trepidation one may have in buying a used car. Hopefully, armed with the knowledge of past or present recalls and mechanic history, used car buyers can make an informed decision on what vehicle would serve their needs best while keeping them and others safe. After all, getting involved in a car accident due to a faulty or defective car part because you didn't due your due diligence in researching a used car before purchasing it, is an unfortunate way to harm yourself. 


Car recall lookup tools provided by government websites and agencies such as the NHTSA are one ideal way to make sure that car buyers are truly purchasing safe cars. It is unfortunate that the FTC would approve of the sale of cars with defective parts, thereby making buyers unable to trust the CPO seal that guarantees buyers that they are buying a recall-free vehicle. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident caused by a vehicle under recall, call 844.4MI.FIRM and speak to the experienced staff at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We provide free consultations to discuss your legal options.

The Impact of Autonomous Cars on the US Economy

There has been continuous buzz about self-driving cars over the past few years, with successful tests and disastrous accidents alike, being reported in the news. There is no doubt that such a ground-breaking invention will change transportation norms throughout the United States, just as Henry Ford’s automobiles forever changed the way to get around the country.

In fact, Wired reports autonomous vehicles are expected to add $7 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 35 years, based on data from Intel and research company Strategy Analytics. This is no small number, considering just robotic cars alone could add $2 trillion to the nation's economy by 2050, not even taking into account the current jobs and businesses that will be affected financially. To put these numbers into perspective, $1 trillion could buy about 40 million new cars, according to Kiplinger. But what makes up this enormous number?

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Self-Driving Cars and Jobs

Autonomous cars are predicted to positively influence the economy in the coming years, but their impact will be spread unevenly across sectors. Companies like Google and GM who have invested in making this technology a reality, will see the most money. Then, for the average Joe, the industries that will likely see a rise in job demands include data analysis, IT, and mechanics. Just like our smart phones and credit cards, autonomous cars collect data on a driver's habits, which in turn creates jobs for humans who need to sort and analyze this data. Intel reports jobs in information technology (IT), though they will see a shift from actual discovery of information to the management of machines finding information, will almost double in intensity. Additionally, the number of miles driven is expected to rise, increasing the need for cars, self-driving or otherwise, to be repaired by mechanics. 

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On the other hand, there will also be a decline in jobs, especially for people working in the service industries. Jobs like food delivery and taxi services may no longer be needed with the use of self-driving cars. This brings into effect the concept that Intel and Strategy Analytics call "The Passenger Economy," an idea which places economic and societal value on pilotless vehicles. Essentially, why hire humans to do a job that cars can do on their own? While they profit either way, this is a question that companies like Uber will have to face when replacing human drivers with company vehicles. 

It should also be noted that self-driving cars may create jobs that are still unknown. After all, with new technologies come new jobs the market previously did not anticipate. On the flip side, new technologies could also make jobs that currently exist obsolete. No matter which sectors see an increase or decline in job security, the fact remains that the American economy will still receive an estimated $7 trillion economic boost (or even even bigger-no one can put an exact number on the future!) Just like the Model-T helped restructure city spaces and bring the suburbs into existence, autonomous vehicles have the ability to transform job markets. There are endless possibilities for economic reform.

Autonomous Car Regulations

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Though all the glory of creating thousands of new jobs and boosting the economy sounds appealing, it does not happen without the technology meeting all safety standards first. Which is why, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not counting their chickens before their eggs hatch. The NHTSA has released the Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles, a document which, "outlines best practices for the safe design, development and testing of automated vehicles prior to commercial sale or operation on public roads." Included in this document is a 15-point safety assessment that requires manufacturers to meet objectives such as operational design, post-crash response, privacy, and cybersecurity before their cars can go to market. Considering that 94% of automobile crashes are due to human error, there is definitely room for technology to advance driver safety. Hopefully, if all autonomous vehicle manufacturers can meet the standards set by the NHTSA, this will be a step in the right direction to saving lives. 

The Future of Self-Driving Cars

What does all this mean for people who are willing to give up their spot behind the wheel and let the car drive itself? (That is a scary thought for a lot of people!) Well, most people want more proof that these cars won't crash and will safely deliver them to their destination before they surrender the wheel. That is why companies who create autonomous car technology need to be regulated to ensure absolute safety in their products and so that consumers are not just paying for the newest trend in transportation. Put simply, this technology needs to save lives and be safer than the transportation methods we already have. Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute said to Consumer Reports that “there’s no way that we as a society would accept self-driving cars that cause the same number of fatalities as humans.” 

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In 2015, there were roughly 35,000 traffic deaths in the United States. Future autonomous vehicles must allow for more safety if they are to replace human drivers. People also need to remember that transportation technology takes years of planning before it can be used in everyday lives, and that for now, only people can drive cars. Testing allows room for development and improvement, but overall “we expect machines to be better than us,” as Pratt said.

Until it's proven that autonomous vehicles are safer than human-operated vehicles, humans need to be careful when driving on the road today. While we may one day be able to sleep while a car drives us around, we have to make sure that for now, we don't fall asleep behind the wheel! Sleepy driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving are bad human habits that can lead to serious injuries and death in the event of a car crash. By following the rules of the road and maintaining good driving habits, people can protect themselves from being involved in fatal car accidents. 

At the end of the day, it is impossible to plan the future or to predict how large of an impact autonomous vehicles will have on the economy or auto law. What we do know is that self-driving cars will add jobs, take away jobs, and, based on how well they are regulated, even save lives. 


Self-driving cars are growing closer to reality than we think due to the rapid development of technology. However, today, we still rely on people to drive vehicles, and as such, following the rules of the road is the best way to stay safe and to avoid motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been in involved in an auto accident, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Ford "Drugged Driving Suit" Teaches Teens Lesson

Ford Motor Company is allowing students to experience what it’s like to drive under the influence of drugs. Thanks to Ford’s new “Drugged Driving Suit,” teens are able to see the many effects that drugs can have on their ability to drive, and also face the severe consequences that can follow them for the rest of their lives. 

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The suit was developed in partnership with the Meyer-Hentschel Institute in Germany to simulate effects of drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy. Teens wearing the suit will experience slower reaction time, distorted vision, hand tremors, and poor coordination. “We know that some drugs can cause trembling hands, so we incorporated a device into the suit that creates just such a tremor,” Gundolf Meyer-Hentschel, CEO of the Meyer-Hentschel Institute said. “Drug users sometimes see flashing lights in their peripheral field, an effect recreated by our goggles, while imaginary sounds are generated by the headphones. Additionally, the goggles distort perception, and produce colorful visual sensations.” 

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 The suit will be part of Ford Driving Skills for Life, which is an award-winning young driver program which provided training to more than 500,000 people worldwide, since it began in 2005. “Driving after taking illegal drugs can have potentially fatal consequences for the driver, their passengers, and other road users,” Global Program Manager for Ford Driving Skills for Life said. According to the most recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 18% of all motor vehicle driver deaths involve drugs other than alcohol. Another NHTSA survey showed that 22% of drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs. 

A lot of attention is placed on drinking and driving, and rightfully so, but the effects of driving while being under the influence of drugs can get pushed off to the side at times. This issue has become even larger around this time of year. With prom and graduation season, along with summer parties every weekend, teens can find themselves making poor choices after a night out. Many times the teen is not even in the right mindset to consider the potential consequences of driving under the influence, and how it could affect their loved ones and the other drivers on the road. 


Driving while under the influence can lead to serious and permanent damage, including death. If you or somebody you know has been in an accident involving a drunk driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of collisions, including drunk driving car crashes. We help victims of drunk driving identity and receive any benefits they may be entitled to, under Michigan law.  Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.