Are Automated Traffic Cameras Harmful to Drivers?

Detroit Traffic Accident Lawyer

You are driving home from work, eager to beat rush hour. You pull up to a red light intending to make a right turn on red before oncoming traffic approaches. You successfully make your right turn, however, you happened to miss the ‘no turn on red’ sign in your rush to evade the traffic! Now, a Michigan State Police officer has stopped you and has given you a $130 ticket for making an illegal turn.

Despite the pain of receiving a traffic ticket, Michigan drivers may actually have it better than drivers in 25 other states in the US. In each of these 25 states, at least one form of automated traffic cameras have been permitted to monitor traffic and automatically punish offenders. There are two forms of these traffic cameras: speed enforcement cameras and red light cameras. Each of these cameras is equipped with a trigger and a computer. As reported by PhotoEnforced, once a driver has committed a traffic violation by exceeding the speed limit or running a red light, the camera is triggered and automatically snaps a photo of the act. The snapshot and a traffic fine is then mailed to the owner about a month later.

According to The Detroit News, these automated cameras have proved extremely lucrative for some cities and states. Since first installing automated cameras in 2003, Chicago has raised $625 million from traffic fines alone! Using over 400 cameras, Chicago currently collects about $45 million from traffic violations annually. After being hired by the city to study the effects of the traffic cameras, Northwestern University (NWU) reported a 14% increase in rear-end accidents in intersections where cameras were present. NWU also found that the public perception of the cameras is that they are very unfair due to the “dilemma zone.”

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As The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog previously discussed, the dilemma zone is the zone in which the yellow light turns red and the driver has to decide whether to brake immediately or drive through the intersection. To back up driver displeasure, NWU studies found that traffic violations are actually reduced if yellow lights are extended from three to four seconds. This time extension allows the driver more time to cross the intersection safely and avoid colliding with other cars. 

All of the information collected in NWU's study is important because, according to The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration, in 2015, vehicle travel reached an all time high with over 3.1 trillion miles traveled. Among the 6 states with the lowest fatality rate, 5 have all banned automated traffic cameras.

How Some States Deal With Automated Cameras

The Texas Transportation Institute supported the claim to lengthen yellow lights by reporting a 40% decrease in intersection car collisions when one second is added to yellow lights. Adding an extra second does not come without a cost, however. Georgia tried mandating the extension of yellow light signals too, but as a result, private companies running the traffic signals went bankrupt due to the decrease in traffic violations.

Some other states have been modifying their laws regarding the use of automated cameras. In Oxnard, California, after collecting over $2 million from traffic violations in 2016, a court found the city guilty of not extending yellow light times after it had been mandated by the state 2 years prior.

In North Carolina, almost all automated cameras have been removed after the state ruled that all profits are to go to school systems rather than private companies. On the contrary, after banning red light cameras in Virginia in 2005, the state reinstated the cameras in July of 2016.

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Automated traffic cameras are less harmful to drivers when the yellow light is extended in their favor. Regardless of whether the traffic light is being run by a city or private company, when the yellow light is purposely shortened in an attempt to collect more revenue from tickets, the driving situation becomes harmful to the driver. In the case of shorter yellow lights, drivers have to decide whether to brake abruptly or proceed through the intersection and assume the risk of running a red light, both of which are actions that can result in dangerous car accidents.


Although Michigan does not permit the use of automated traffic cameras, the risk of being involved in an automobile accident at an intersection or traffic light is still prevalent. In some circumstances, the absence of traffic cameras could lead to drivers speeding more often and driving more aggressively at intersections.  If you have been involved in any type of car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our accident attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have regarding any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Halloween Child Trick-or-Treat Road Safety

Michigan Halloween Car Crash Lawyer

It’s almost Halloween, and while zombies and skeletons may be fictional, the dangers that exist on Halloween night are very real. Therefore, both kids and adults need to be thinking about pedestrian safety on Halloween night. According to Safe Kids, on average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed on Halloween compared to other days of the year. Dr. Rebecca Parker, chairwoman of the American College of Emergency Physicians' board of directors, told U.S. News and World Report that most of these child pedestrian car accidents occur between 4 PM and 10 PM, as kids anxious for candy start hitting the streets when the sun starts to set, making it harder for drivers to see. However, Dr. Leticia Manning, an injury researcher at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, added that these motor vehicle accidents are not always the driver’s fault. Children are often wearing masks that make it difficult for them to see, wearing costumes they could trip over, and are generally excited, making their movements more unpredictable.

According to the National Security Council, October ranks second for motor vehicle deaths per month. More so, pedestrian death or injuries of those ages 5 to 9 occur most commonly when the child darts or runs into the road. Dr. Sarah Denny, an emergency room physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, confirms this. She says that the majority of child pedestrian accidents do not occur in the crosswalk. Since the dangers of Halloween night shouldn't be downplayed, Safe Kids has some suggestions as to how to stay safe while having fun during trick-or-treating.

Halloween Road Safety Tips For Kids

  • Cross the streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.

  • Look left, right, and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.

  • Put your electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.

  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.

  • Children under the age of 12, should not be alone at night without adult supervision.

  • Decorate your costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.

  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct your vision.

  • Carry glow sticks or flashlights to help you see and be seen by drivers.

  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Trick-or-treating should be a fun night for both kids and adults, but it is important to be aware of the dangers that exist. Halloween scares such as poisonous candy or razor blades in apples are less common occurrences than pedestrian accidents. Parents educating their kids, as well as kids being proactive about smart costume choices and safe pedestrian habits, may help kids stay safe while enjoying trick-or-treating. While these tip can't guarantee that a pedestrian car accident won't happen, parents and kids should make sure they are doing everything in their power to help lower their risk of being involved in a car crash.


Pedestrian car accidents can occur on any night, any time of year. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a pedestrian accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 

Clown Horror Movie 'It' Marks Start of Halloween Season

Michigan Halloween Car Crash Lawyer

Fall is a beautiful time of year. With changing leaves, apple cider, football games, and pumpkin flavored everything, what's not to like about the changing of the seasons? Well, as anyone with a fear of clowns may remember, this time last year, the streets were flooded with creepy clowns. Clowns were everywhere, and The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog even wrote about the clown sighting, as what started out as a creepy, but generally harmless prank, ended up having deadly consequences.

Readers may recall that a 16-year old boy in Reading, Pennsylvania died after getting into a fight with someone dressed as a clown, and in Wisconsin, clowns were chasing cars in the streets. Right here in Michigan, a clown reportedly attacked a 7-year old in Sterling Heights. As a result of the creepy clown craze, many establishments started banning people in clown costumes from entering, and some halloween stores stopped selling clown costumes all together. It was a bizarre and terrifying phenomenon that preoccupied Americans throughout the fall of last year.

This Fall, while there have yet to be reports of actual clown sightings, one famous one is leaving his calling card in various cities around the world. Stephen King’s 1986 novel It, which was first made into a miniseries that debuted in 1990, has been rebooted into a movie, and premiered on September 8, 2017. Leading up to the release, the trademark of Pennywise the killer clown, a red balloon tied to a storm grate, has been found in cities around the world. On September 5, 2017, in a now viral Facebook post, the Lititz Borough Police Department in Pennsylvania reported finding red balloons tied to storm grates throughout their town. Down under, in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, pedestrians also noticed the balloons popping up on their streets. Luckily for all of us, it does not appear as though Pennywise was behind it. In Pennsylvania, 5 teenaged girls admitted to placing the balloons as a way to scare their classmates who were excited about the movie. In Australia, the red balloons were used as a promotional campaign for the release of the movie.

Detroit Halloween Car Crash Lawyer

Spooky pranks such as dressing up as a clown or leaving red balloons around town may seem fun and innocent, but the consequences can go much further than planned. Trying to scare people may seem harmless enough, but what if those people are driving a car? Motorists who are calmly driving down the road are likely to be startled at best and petrified at worst, by a clown jumping out into the road, seeming coming out of thin air, and chasing them down the road. Being scared while operating a motor vehicle could potentially result in the driver taking their focus off of the road, which for even a second could cause a car collision. Seeing a red on a grate while passing through an intersection could have a similar distracted driving car crash effect. Even if people aren't scared by seeing the balloon and realizing it's implication, they could take their hands off the wheel to point it out to a friend or try and take a picture.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people died in 2015 alone, due to distracted driving accidents. While many people associate distracted driving with texting or talking on a cell phone, being chased by a clown or seeing red balloons in your street can be pretty distracting too. Nobody wants to call their car insurance company or a car accident lawyer and have to tell the embarrassing story of how they totaled their car because they saw a red balloon coming out of the sewer!

So, leading up to Halloween this year, everyone should remember to have a good time, but to have a safe time, by doing things that don't involve public pranks.


Cell phone related distracted driving accidents are not the only kind of distracted driving car crash. Whether it's a hyper pet in the back seat or a creepy Halloween decoration, anything that momentarily causes a driver to take their eyes off the road could cause a car crash. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a distracted driving car collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 

Honolulu Becomes The First City to Ban Distracted Walking

Every driver has experienced that moment of fear when proceeding through an intersection or sidewalk crosswalk, and seeing a pedestrian walking toward the road looking while down at their phone. You do not know whether the pedestrian understands where they are relative to the road and will stop accordingly, or if they will proceed to walk through because they are too distracted by their phone. “Distracted walking” is dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians, and cellphones are far and beyond the primary cause of it. According to a study published by the University of Maryland, 11,000 injuries phone-related injuries have occurred as the result of distraction, between 2000 and 2011. Honolulu, Hawaii has sought to become the first US city to pass legislation in effort to eradicate this problem.

Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

According to Reuters, effective October 25, 2017, Honolulu has banned pedestrians from looking at their phone while crossing the street. If a police officer catches a pedestrian walking while distracted, they can be fined anywhere from $15 to $99 depending on how long they were looking down at their phone. Understandably, emergency calls are exempt from the ban.

This distracted pedestrian act has set out to address the fact that distracted driving is not only the problem, but that distracted walking also poses many dangers as well. Kirk Caldwell, Mayor of Honolulu, addressed the reason for the law by telling reporters, “we hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any city in the country.” 

While Honolulu is the first American city to begin addressing this distracted pedestrian issue, they are not alone alone outside the United States. Large cities “across the pond” such as London, England and Augsburg, Germany have begun experimenting on how to curb distracted walking in their own right. London has begun wrapping pads around lampposts to cushion the impact in the event that a distracted pedestrian walks directly into one. As the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously informed readers, Augsburg has installed traffic signals in the ground, so that they are visible to pedestrians whose are looking downward while using their phone.

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

While most can agree that Honolulu's attempt to protect pedestrians from being involved in pedestrian car accidents is a good idea, there are adversaries to this distracted walking bill. Honolulu resident Ben Robinson, claims that the bill infringes on personal freedom and encompasses government overreach. Robinson wanted to see the law repealed by telling the city council through written testimony, saying he wants the government to "scrap this intrusive bill, provide more education to citizens about responsible electronics usage, and allow law enforcement to focus on larger issues.”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with a law banning pedestrians from crossing the street while looking at their phones, it is undeniable that distracted walking presents many dangers to pedestrians walking along busy roads. Anyone walking down Woodward, Avenue in Michigan can tell you how often they've almost been hit by a car! Only time will tell however, if other large cities, including Detroit, Michigan, decide to follow Honolulu and pass distracted walking bans of their own.

In the meantime, look up from your phone when crossing the street! Whatever text you are sending or article you are reading can wait. Pedestrian safety is more important.


Pedestrians who cross busy without paying attention to traffic because they are consumed by their phones, are a danger to themselves and motorists. Pedestrians must be careful when crossing the street, and they must understand that whatever may be on their phone is not as important as their safety and can surely wait. Have you been in an accident involving distracted behavior? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

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. 

Auto Accident Attorney Michigan

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.