Volvo's Automatic Braking System for Semi-Trucks

Truck Accident Lawyer Michigan

Volvo Trucks Global is taking a step into the future with its new automatic braking system. The company has created a Collision Warning/Early Braking system for its trucks. This development, as detailed in Business Insider, is designed for trucks to brake automatically if they get too close to other vehicles in front of them. A sensor on the front “sees” the road ahead, and brakes the truck on its own, if it gets too close to the car in front of it. 
 
When braking, an alarm sounds and a display light activates on the dashboard, anticipating the truck’s sudden stop. The truck’s back taillights flash like hazards when the automatic braking system is in use, alerting drivers behind the truck, so that drivers behind can avoid a rear end car crash. All this for a truck carrying 40 tons of cargo!   

The primary goal of Volvo working to make automated features for semi-trucks is to increase auto safety. Hayder Wokil, Autonomous and Automated Driving Director for Volvo Trucks, said, “We are focused on solutions that can make difficult, repetitive and time-consuming tasks easier for all concerned.” The latest technological improvement will affect other drivers on the road, beyond just the truck drivers. In 2015, almost 64% of fatal crashes involving large trucks also involved two other vehicles, as found in an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In other words, other drivers are at risk of injury or death from a semi-truck accident. Developments like automated truck brakes may improve the safety of truck crashes for all drivers. 
 
Worldwide, companies like Volvo are using trucks to minimize harvest damage that human-operated trucks create, utilizing automatic garbage trucks, and enlisting self-driving delivery trucks to bring packages to people’s doorsteps. With so many possibilities for advancement, the automated truck industry will likely see rapid growth in the coming years. It will be exciting to watch consumer fears grow into fascination, as more and more automotive companies focus on turning even the biggest trucks on the road into a safer form of transportation in the near future. 

Michigan Truck Accident Attorney

Volvo's automatic braking system for semi-trucks will make stopping suddenly much easier for truck drivers, helping drivers behind them avoid rear end car accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our skilled attorneys can tell you if you are eligible for any compensation under Michigan law. 

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.”

Michigan Traffic Accident Lawer

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.

Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

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.

Beware Of Traffic Light Camera Ticketing

With the holiday season fast approaching, thousands of Michiganders will do doubt be travelling to see their families or even to take a winter vacation. While many may choose to fly, driving is also a popular travel method to reach nearby destinations. While roadtrippers are crossing between states, they need take into consideration any differences in state road laws, particularly at intersections. Unlike Michigan, the Detroit News says 23 other states use automated ticket cameras to fine drivers unaware that they are being filmed for breaking the law. 

Michigan Out of State Traffic Ticket Lawyer

Privatized traffic law enforcement systems are growing in number throughout the United States, but Michigan has yet to follow the trend. The fact that Michigan hasn't followed suit may be for the best since many states have had negative experiences, and even scandals arise from the use of ticketing cameras. While traffic cameras were designed to make drivers follow road rules, since even just seeing a camera causes motorists to slow down, this is the exact reason they also caused trouble when drivers are ticketed after driving through an intersection during the “dilemma zone." The dilemma zone refers to the time frame in which a driver has to make a split-second decision to proceed through or slam on their brakes to stop, when a traffic light has just turned red.

Additionally, a study conducted in Los Angeles, California highlighted how red-light cameras led to an increase in traffic accidents, predominantly rear-end car crashes from drivers slamming on their brakes after seeing the camera's flash. This study led to many cities in California to break their contractual agreement with the traffic camera companies and even discover that one city's police department purposely stopped recording the information received from the traffic cameras in order to hide the results.

The scandals occurring in other states who use ticketing cameras at intersections include companies bribing local officials, automated ticket companies refusing to use the money acquired through traffic citations for public school funding, and privately owned ticket operation companies placing profit over traffic safety by setting ticket quotas.

It is for all of these problems with traffic cameras that Michigan Senator Mike Shirkey introduced Senate Bill 593 in November 2015. The bill suggests banning the use of unmanned traffic monitoring devices to detect or enforce traffic violations concerning speed limits, signals, traffic signs, etc. 

Shirkey has said, “The recent scandals that took place in other states (related to ticketing cameras at intersections) show the true nature of some of these programs, and Michigan drivers have always, thankfully, valued freedom and we've avoided the added stress that cameras and their inaccurate ticketing can present.”

Michigan Traffic Ticket Lawyer

For now, Michigan residents can rest easy that the traffic cameras currently in place at select intersections across the state are simply there to monitor the flow of traffic. That doesn’t mean however, that drivers should disobey traffic signs or forget the laws of the road. Police can and will issue traffic citations which may be difficult to fight in court and may lead to points being added to a motorist's license, no matter if the ticket is received out-of-state or in-state.

Although some Americans relate traffic cameras to sinister government objectives such as increasing tax rates and invading citizens privacy, and point to the above mentioned scandals as proof, these state governments view traffic cameras as a safety addition to their city which keeps down traffic violations and keeps school zones safe. So, when you're driving to Bubbe's house for Hannukah this year, mind your speed or traffic cameras won't mind giving you a speeding ticket. It's better to eat cold latkes than have to explain to your Michigan accident Lawyer that you got rear-ended in Ohio when you slammed on your brakes at a traffic light that took your picture for speeding. 


Red light cameras and speeding ticket cameras seem to be a reasonable safety measure for many American lawmakers who are working to help decrease and prevent auto accidents and traffic violations. While Michigan doesn't employ cameras to catch speeding or rule breaking drivers, Michigan drivers should always remember to follow the rules of the road to avoid getting in trouble with the law and to avoid getting into motor vehicle accidents. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced accident attorney.

Are Rear-Facing Car Seats Safe for Infants?

Flint Car Accident Lawyer

On May 16th, 2017, a vehicle was rear-ended on East Stewart Avenue in Flint, Michigan. As reported by MLive, in the vehicle was an 8 month year old infant, who sadly died after suffering critical injuries in the accident. Micah Kent, the young infant, was reportedly in critical condition and was rushed to the Hurley Medical Center, however, the injuries he sustained proved fatal. The vehicle carrying the baby was a 1997 Mercury Sable, and it had been hit from behind by a man driving a 2002 Saturn SL2. Police have reported that they believe the driver was under the influence of drugs and alcohol during the crash. It was not stated how the baby was riding in the vehicle or if a car seat was used.

Stories like this are heartbreaking. Infants are highly susceptible to injuries from car crashes because their spines are still developing and their heads are still large relative to their bodies. A baby’s neck and spine are not strong enough to sustain the force of a car accident without the proper protection of a car seat. Child car safety experts tell parents to always make sure a car seat is rear-facing for infants under the age of two. That is, the car seat is facing the backside of the vehicle.

The Issue With Rear-Facing Car Seats

Child Car Safety Lawyer

Child car safety experts tell parents to face car seats toward the back of the vehicle because an impact to the front of the car is the most common type of car crash in America. Per The Washington Post, of the infants under the age of one killed in collisions between 2005 and 2009, one third were involved in frontal or offset crashes while only 15% were killed in rear-end crashes. Facing a car seat to the back of the vehicle can keep the baby’s neck and spine straight while the car seat eliminates whiplash from the crash.

Again however, this safety measure is intended to protect babies from crashes to the front of the vehicle. As evidenced from the tragic story above, babies can face severe risks from rear-end collisions as well. The issue is that car seat manufacturers tend to read statistics like the ones given by The Washington Post and focus on creating safety measures for frontal crashes because they are the most common. As a result, they overlook the risks associated with infants in rear-end collisions. 

Flint Car Collision

The Washington Post also outlined an experiment and study published by the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention. The experiment depicted the impact of a rear-end collision with a car moving 30 mph carrying an infant-sized dummy sitting in a rear-facing car seat. The experiment showed the car seat lurching toward the back of the car and the dummy’s head colliding hard with the back seat. The car seat researchers who conducted the experiment recognized that a car colliding with another vehicle in reverse at 30 mph is unlikely, but they were nonetheless surprised by the force of impact absorbed by the infant dummy’s head. The child car safety experts, however, were more concerned that their findings would scare parents into thinking rear-facing car seats were not the safest option. They made sure to specify that babies should remain in rear-facing style. The experts intentions for the study were not to show that babies are unsafe facing the back of vehicles, but rather that rear-facing car seats could be made safer.

No Car Seat is Crash Proof, But Rear-Facing Car Seats Are The Best Option

Rear-facing car seats, as opposed to forward-facing, are the best option for infants up to the age of two. As stated above, frontal or offset crashes are the most common type of crash. Rear-facing car seats have been designed to mitigate the force of these frontal crashes and stop any whiplash from occurring. Additionally, the most common type of rear-end crash occurs when the car is moving between 5-10 mph. Although whiplash can still be felt at these speeds, it is more important to focus on reducing the impact of frontal crash that could occur at 30 mph or faster. It is even mandated in three states that infants are remain rear-facing until they reach the age of two. 12 states require babies to sit in rear-facing seats until they are at least one. To ensure an infants rear-facing seat is as safe as possible, parents should secure the car seat through their vehicle's seat belt or L.A.T.C.H. system. Generally, a car seat is secure if it cannot be moved more than one inch in all directions.

Below are more car safety tips provided by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Car Safety Tips for Infants

Car Seat Safety
  • Your child should be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two.
  • Always put your infant’s rear-facing car seat in the back seat of a car. A baby sitting in the front passenger seat of a car could be fatally injured by the blunt force of an air bag.
  • Always have snug safety harnesses at or below your baby’s shoulders. Make sure there is no room to pinch a fold in the harnesses.
  • Never place a blanket between your child and the harnesses, and do not dress your baby in bulky clothing that could lessen the snugness of the safety straps. Instead, place a blanket over the harnesses and child. 
  • Lastly, remember that your child has outgrown his or her’s rear-facing seat if his or her head is touching the top of the car seat. There should be at least one inch between the top of their head and the top of the car seat.

So, the question remains: are rear-facing car seats safe for Infants. The easiest answer is that they are the better of two evils. The rear-facing car seat is the best option for children under two years of age. However, they do not completely ensure an infant's safety, especially from rear-end accidents, but they are safer against the more common frontal car accidents. Hopefully however, the focus for the future of child car safety is not on deciding which type of crash deserves the most attention, but rather, how to make a car seat that can be safe in all car accident types. 


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Birmingham, Michigan personal injury firm. Our firm handles personal injury lawsuits throughout the state. Call 844.464.3476 today to speak to an experienced injury attorney today. We offer free consultations and honest and fair legal representation.