Tips for Drivers Sharing The Road With The QLine

Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember a recent post discussing the new public transportation system in downtown Detroit, the QLine. The QLine is a streetcar system that runs along Woodward Ave through downtown, Wayne State University, Midtown, and Foxtown. The QLine opened in May of 2017, and while it’s a great transportation option in Detroit, it may also cause confusion for drivers in the city.

Detroit QLine Car Crash Lawyer

The QLine tracks are on public roads, changing the traffic patterns drivers in the area are used to and requiring drivers to pay attention to the streetcars as well as newly posted traffic lights and signage. The QLine adds yet another element drivers need to be aware of on already busy city streets. One driver unfortunately learned this the hard way, colliding with a QLine streetcar. CBS Detroit reported that on Thursday October 5, 2017, the driver of a long-bed truck pulled out in front of the QLine at the intersection of Willis and Woodward Ave, colliding with the streetcar. The driver was found to be at fault, and will likely receive a citation. Luckily damage to the vehicle and the QLine was minor and no was injured.

M-1 Rail, the creators of the QLine, said that in the 5 months the QLine has been operating, it has been involved in about 6 minor accidents. The QLine is a large, relatively slow moving vehicle, being 66 feet long and traveling at 35 MPH. While it may be frustrating to be stuck behind the QLine, drivers need to be careful not to make any sudden movements, such as cutting out in front of the QLine at an intersection, or attempting to pass the QLine and cutting it off.m in order to avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident. The QLine released this video to suggest safety tips for drivers.

While these driving safety tips cannot guarantee that QLine car accidents won’t happen, they can help drivers be more prepared when it comes to sharing the road with the QLine. While it may take some getting used to for drivers, the QLine is a great transportation option for those who don’t want to try and navigate Detroit themselves, and an excellent alternative to drunk driving for those who have had a fun night on the town. The QLine is still a relatively new system, and likely over time drivers will be more accustomed to sharing the road with the streetcars. In the meantime, drivers should be aware of their surroundings when driving in Detroit, follow all posted signage and traffic signals, and not try to outrun the QLine, no matter how slow it seems to be moving.

Public transportation systems like the QLine that operate on public roads require some time for drivers to get used to sharing the road with them. But regardless of how much time has passed and how comfortable drivers are with the Qline, car accidents can still happen. If you have been involved in an automobile accident involving a public transportation vehicle such as a SMART Bus or the QLine, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Introducing The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog has maintained a focus on the steady development of autonomous vehicle projects and the various companies that are preparing for future autonomous vehicle production. However, cars are not the only forms of transportation that will soon become automated.

Daimler, the creator of the Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles, is revolutionizing public city transportation by creating the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, a semi-automated bus with CityPilot. CityPilot is an autonomous driving system designed by Daimler, that allows semi-automated buses to drive safely and efficiently in a special, designated lane up to 43 mph. According to Daimler’s website, the Future Bus has been the next development following the Mercedes-Benz Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, a partially automated semi-truck that has already been driving on its own, on motorways. The CityPilot system was created based off of Highway Pilot technology, yet it has undergone more advanced developments and possesses more functions.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

CityPilot is equipped with about a dozen cameras that scan the road, while short and long radar systems monitor the route ahead. This allows the bus to recognize and communicate with traffic lights, perceive obstacles-most importantly pedestrians-operate and brake autonomously, and position itself precisely to the centimeter. The Future Bus can approach stops automatically and open its doors to let citizens in an out, drive through tunnels, includes a precise GPS navigation system, and can reach a top speed of 70 km/h (about 43 mph). For safety precautions, a human driver sits at the wheel to monitor the route, and may take control of the wheel at any moment if necessary.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

The interior and exterior design gives the Future Bus a unique, futuristic look, while offering passengers a state-of-the-art, comfortable ride. The exterior offers a ground-breaking design including an array of smooth contours, cutting edge door layouts, and sleek lines designed to both appeal to the aesthetic and to put the 'future' in Future Bus. The interior is designed with an open, relaxed layout made up of 3 zones based on how long the passenger plans to ride. Each zone is comprised of very modern, comfortable seating, and the ceiling lights have been arranged to resemble a leaf canopy. Passengers are also able to access information and entertainment through large monitors in the middle passenger department, and can even charge their smartphones on charging pads next to their seats.

As reported by The Verge, the Future Bus has already been put to the test as it completed a 30 km (about 12 miles) route through the Netherlands back in July, 2016. This route included challenging turns, tunnels, traffic lights, and pedestrians. The bus was successfully able to navigate itself flawlessly without the driver needing to turn the wheel, brake, or accelerate at any moment.

Source:  Diamler

Source: Diamler

According to Mashable, unlike the Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, in which Daimler plans to begin production in 2020, the company does not plan to produce Future Bus Prototypes. Instead, Daimler plans to use certain parts of the advanced technology and semi-autonomous system to implement into regular city buses for the future, as well as focusing on the improvement of its zero-emission production plans. So, it could be possible that Detroit and other major Michigan cities such as Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, may have automated public transportation in the future!

The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is a ground-breaking innovation built with safety features that far exceed what is humanly possible. With cameras and radar systems that can detect even the smallest motions during a route, and an autonomous driving system that can force itself to brake on a dime, it is hard to imagine any safety risks that can occur. However, it is imperative to note that buses, regardless if a human is driving or not, may prove a risk to citizens and may be prone to accidents. According to The Accident Data Center, over 55,000 people are injured by buses in the US per year. If you or anyone you know has been injured by a bus, car, or been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Roseville Man Ticketed For Warming Up His Car

Many Michigan residents were unaware until recently that they could be ticketed for leaving their cars running, with the keys in the ignition, on private property. That is exactly what happened to Nick Taylor Trupiano, 24, of Roseville, Michigan back in January. Mr. Taylor started up his car to get it warm and left his keys in the ignition before going back inside his house for a few minutes. He told XILX 10 News that when he came back to his vehicle however, he noticed a ticket on the windshield. Angry about receiving the ticket, Taylor posted a picture of the ticket along with his enraged feelings about the officer who issued it, on Facebook, where it was shared more than 14,000 times.

The Reason For The Ticket

The ticket said, “Vehicle parked in drive with keys in the ignition, motor running -- no one around." Roseville Police Chief James Berlin explained that Taylor was “putting the public at risk” and that it was "purely a public safety issue" because by leaving the car unattended with the key in the ignition, Taylor gave carjackers a chance to steal the vehicle. Berlin also clarified that using a remote starter is fine, but leaving the keys engaged in the car is where the issue arises. 

Taylor said he would have respected the ticker had the officer knocked on his door and informed him that he was in violation. "I had no clue that this was a law, an ordinance. I’ve done this every day for seven years. Every person warms up their car. We live in Michigan." On those grounds, Taylor therefore decided to fight the ticket.

The Judge's Decision

Michigan Winter Car Crash Lawyer

Judge Marco Santia of the 29th District Court ruled that the $128 ticket will stand. Santia stated that the ticket was given under reasonable circumstances under the  law despite Taylor's argument that the ticket should not apply to his private property. City Attorney Tim Tomlinson essentially argued that Taylor left his car open and viable for criminals to steal his car which is why the ordinance exists in the first place - to deter "nefarious people." Tomlinson even reported to the court that not long after Taylor received his ticket that two incidents of car theft occurred due to similar circumstances-one including children and the other, a high speed chase.

House Bill 4215

The viral response to Taylor's Facebook post caused so much public outcry that Republican Rep. Holly Hughes submitted a bill in February to excuse residents from receiving a ticket if their car was left running on private property. The bill known as HB 4215 was approved in March in a 77 to 30 vote in the House. Hughes argued that it's up to the owner of the car if they want to take the risk of having it stolen by leaving it outside and running. 

The Safety of Idling A Car

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Though warming up cars in winter is an age old practice for citizens of Michigan, it is in fact discouraged by car experts. Popular Mechanics says that letting your car idle, "decreases [the life of your engine] by stripping oil away from the engine's cylinders and pistons...Driving your car is the fastest way to warm the engine up to 40 degrees...The best thing to do is start the car, take a minute to knock the ice off your windows, and get going...It takes 5 to 15 minutes for your engine to warm up, so take it nice and easy for the first part of your drive...Warming up your car before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads."

So, in addition to car theft and opening up the public to potential violence, warming up a car isn't even good for the cars. This is an important fact to remember as a car that is not in good condition is more likely to become involved in a car accident. Therefore, drivers should remember to always keep their car maintenance up to date, and in the event that they do rely on warming up their cars in winter, should have their vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic regularly, to ensure that it is in good shape. 

Idling your car to warm it up is a popular practice in the cold, harsh winters of Michigan. However, warming up your car and leaving it unattended can open drivers up to a host of problems including car theft and potentially, a broken engine. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car crash due to winter weather or a worn out engine, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.