I-696 Ready To Go, But Please Drive Slow

Interstate 696 (I-696) officially reopened on January 6, 2019 for drivers travelling eastbound in Macomb County from I-94 to I-75. Eastbound 696 is also open, with the exception of Hoover Rd. to Eastbound 696, which are expected to reopen Saturday, January 12. This is exciting news! Still not excited? Well, this means many drivers are going back to their scheduled routines, will no longer see “workers ahead” signs, and face less stop and go traffic in the early mornings. Not to mention, drivers will no longer travel in constant fear of dodging potholes! While these new, smooth, wide, open lanes may put on a smile on commuters faces, they may also cause drivers to take advantage of these repairs and speed, which may then lead to traffic violations, monstrous fines, and even car crash fatalities.

Failing to follow the posted speed limit may lead to traffic violations issued by the Michigan State Police (MSP). Driving recklessly, speeding, or even travelling 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit are examples of traffic violations. According to Michigan’s Secretary of State (SOS), “each time you are convicted of a traffic violation, drivers will have to pay certain court fines and costs.” In addition, points may be posted to a driver’s record. Under Michigan's point system, “each traffic violation has a point value, which is set by law in the Michigan Vehicle Code.” Also, “points are placed on someone’s driver record only after they have been convicted or found guilty of or responsible for a civil infraction.”

Points For Speeding Traffic Convictions:

Speeding Car Crash Lawyer

Six Points:

  • Reckless Driving.

  • Fleeing or eluding a police officer.

Four Points:

  • Drag Racing, 16 mph or more over the legal speed limit.

Three Points:

  • Careless Driving, 11 through 15 mph over the legal speed limit.

Two Points:

  • 10 mph or less over the legal speed limit.

Once convicted of a traffic conviction, points remain on the offender’s driving record for 2 years from the date of the conviction. Racking up points might seem fun in an arcade game but in terms of driving, may lead to suspended licenses.

If traffic convictions such as tickets or license suspension don’t alarm drivers and persuade them to follow posted speed limits, maybe the possibility of a car accident, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or even death might. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “there were 37,461 traffic fatalities in 2016. Among them, 10,111 (27%) were in crashes where at least one driver was speeding.” Furthermore, the speed of a vehicle at the time of a motor vehicle accident also has an impact on the severity of a car crash and any subsequent injuries. According to a study presented at the University of California Berkeley, “for every 1% increase in speed, a driver’s chance of an accident increases by 2%, the chance of serious injury increases 3%, and the chance of fatality increases by about 4%.” So, while drivers may feel the “need for speed,” it’s imperative to remember that I-696’s posted speed limit is 70 mph. However, it is important to note that according to the Michigan Department of Transportation ( MDOT), semi trucks are not permitted to exceed 65 mph on the freeway. Going faster than these recommended speed limits may cause severe injuries or even death in the event of a speeding car crash.

Source: Giphy, Top Gun

Newly repaired roads are a treat for Michigan drivers. Aside from their shiny, smooth, aesthetic appeal, new roads mean that drivers no longer have to swerve to dodge potholes and they reach their destinations faster since their drive no longer impeded by roadblocks and machinery taking up some of the lanes. However, drivers shouldn’t take advantage of this new luxury and speed! Even the slightest speed increase may reroute a driver’s life forever if they cause a speeding car crash.


Speeding comes with a price tag, and no one can afford a traffic fatality. Drivers must use caution when travelling on the freeway. Traffic violations can be a pain to deal with, but car accident injuries like herniated discs, broken bones, and TBI’s are far more painful. If you’ve been involved in a car crash caused by a speeding driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Kalamazoo Crash Underscores Consequences of Speeding

A tragic car crash in Kalamazoo, Michigan over Labor Day Weekend has demonstrated the deadly consequences of driving over the speed limit. Five teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 died in a fiery car crash around 1 AM on the morning of Saturday, September 2, 2017. They were traveling nearly 100 mph in a Dodge Charger when they slammed into a tree. A parked Kalamazoo police officer saw the car go speeding by and began following the car in order to slow it down. Upon rounding a corner however, he discovered that the car crashed and was being consumed by flames.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Speeding car accidents like this Kalamazoo car crash one are unfortunately not uncommon. Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember a similar teenage speeding car crash that resulted in the deaths of 3 of the 5 teenagers involved, in Stony Creek Metro Park.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a speed related crash as one in which the driver “was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.” In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, 27% of all fatalities from automobile accidents in the country were due to speeding. In Michigan, speeding related fatalities are also about 27% of all fatalities from automobile accidents. Data from the NHTSA shows that drivers between the ages of 15 and 34 are most likely to speed, and males are more likely to speed than females. Also, weekends and night time are when the most speeding occurs. In states with harsh winters such as Michigan, ice and snow also increase the likelihood of speed related car crashes.

This heartbreaking car accident highlights the dangers of speeding. Whether it’s 1 mile per hour over the speed limit or 20, speeding is not only dangerous, but is also against the law. According to the Michigan Legislature, driving at a speed greater than the posted speed limit is known as a violation of a basic speed law (VBSL). Basic speeding laws are set in place to assure that vehicles will be able to stop within a clear distance of the car ahead if need be. 

Michigan’s Posted Speeding Laws

Speeding Car Crash Lawyer
  • 25 miles per hour in business districts.
  • 25 miles per hour in residential districts.
  • 25 miles per hour within the boundaries of a public park.
  • 55 miles per hour on truck-line and county highways.
  • 55 miles per hour on gravel highways.
  • 70 miles per hour on limited access freeways.

In the state of Michigan, speeding is considered a civil infraction, resulting in speeding tickets of up to $100. In some circumstances, driving over the speed limit may even be considered reckless driving, which may result in a fine of up to $500 and possibly jail time. More so, according to the Michigan Secretary of State, driving over the speed limit can also result in points being added to the driver's license. Different violations have different point values, and the points stay on the driver’s record for two years after the conviction date.

Points for Speed Related Infractions

  • Reckless driving = 6 points
  • Drag racing = 4 points
  • Driving 16 mph over the speed limit or more = 4 points
  • Careless driving = 3 points
  • Driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit = 3 points
  • Driving 10 mph or less over the speed limit = 2 points

Speeding is illegal and dangerous. Driving over the speed limit may result in points on the driver’s record, a suspended license, tickets, and even jail time. What's worse however is that speed related automobile accidents may lead to serious injury or death. Going 10 mph over the posted speed limit and potentially rear-ending a vehicle due being unable to slow down in time for a sudden red light, is not worth shaving 5 minutes off of a commute. Drivers should instead plan out their trip before they leave and should be prepared to leave ahead of their scheduled departure time to ensure a smooth, steady, and safe drive to their intended destination. 


Speeding not only hurts your driving record, but it may also lead to serious injuries and death in the event of a speeding car crash. Driving over the speed limit, regardless of how much over the limit, is illegal. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by a speeding driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Truck Accident Recorded On Facebook Live

According to CBS News a man in Rhode Island was involved in a car accident while recording a Facebook Live video. The driver was Onasi Olio-Rojas, 20 of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Olio-Rojas was recording himself going 114 miles per hour and was seen weaving in and out of traffic on Route 6, when he lost control of the vehicle, hit a garbage truck as it entered the highway, and then crossed three lanes to crash into a concrete barrier. 

Truck Accident Attorney

“He has his camera in his right hand, videotaping himself as he’s driving, has no seatbelt on, he starts to hit speeds of 90 miles an hour, which increases to 100 miles an hour, then you see several erratic lane changes where he goes from the high-speed lane to the low-speed lane, into the breakdown lane, in and out of traffic,” Capt. John Allen of Rhode Island State Police told CBS affiliate WPRI.

The video was posted to Olio-Rojas’ Facebook page and authorities have verified its authenticity. The Rhode Island State Police has even asked Facebook for an official copy so that it could be used as evidence in court.

“I mean, the video makes the case. The independent witnesses certainly help, but nothing beats actually watching it on the video.” Capt. Allen said.

Rescue crews extracted Olio-Rojas from the vehicle and rushed him to the hospital Fortunately, Olio-Rojas was diagnosed to be in fair condition. Once he is conscious and alert, Mr. Olio- Rojas will be arraigned from his hospital bed. Police told Olio-Rojas that he was charged with reckless driving and operating a vehicle while having a suspended license. In fact, Olio-Rojas' license was suspended due to 5 previous traffic violations including texting while driving. He was also involved in 3 vehicle car crashes in 2016 alone. 

“Mr. Rojas just has a blatant disregard for anyone else on the road,” said Allen. Mr. Olio-Rojas will be arraigned from his hospital bed.

Distracted driving accidents have increased by 28% since 2005, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Accidents caused by distracted drivers are becoming a growing problem in America with drivers using their cell phones to not only make phone calls and text, but to record video and watch movies, all while they are behind the wheel. These actions not only put the driver but other drivers and pedestrians in danger. 


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) list drivers in their 20s to be responsible for 27% of distracted driving accidents. 38% of drivers in their 20s were using their cellphones at the time of the fatal accident. Have you been hit by a distracted driver? Speak to an auto accident attorney today at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC.  Call 844.4MI.FIRM.

Bus Driver Asked Children, "Are Y'all Ready To Die," Before Crashing

Johnthony Walker, 24, was charged with vehicular homicide after allegedly killing 5 children from Woodmore Elementary School, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 21, 2016. Walker was a school bus driver transporting 35 children ranging from ages 5 to 10. According to CBS News, more than 20 children were injured and had to be rushed to the hospital after it took nearly two hours for emergency crews to clear them from the accident. Kirk Kelly, the interim school superintendent, confirmed that one of the children killed in the accident was a kindergartner, another was a first grader, and three of them were in the fourth grade. Kelly refused to release the names of the students, but did divulge that 12 of the students have remained hospitalized with 6 of them in intensive care. 

Michigan School Bus Accident Lawyer

The accident was caused by Walker who was supposedly not paying attention and going well over the posted 30 miles per hour speed limit. Jasmine Mateen, whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in the crash, recounts, “My daughter said right before the bus flipped that he was speeding around the curve and asked them ‘Are y’all ready to die?’” According to another boy on the bus, the bus then hit a garbage bag and a mailbox before flipping over and finally wrapping around a tree.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent out investigators to acquire the school bus’ black box. The black box contains data of the vehicles movements which the NTSB will analyze to confirm or deny witness accounts and the local authorities' findings. NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart says they are focusing on gathering witness accounts and any other evidence pertaining to the accident, including if the school bus had any cameras.

Ms. Mateen had a total of three children aboard the bus, including her daughter who died in the accident. One of the children, who was seated next to the sister who passed away, claims to have seen her sister “smushed” between the seats. Mateen, along with a few other parents whose children rode on Walker’s bus, claim to have complained about Walker’s incessant habit of speeding, before the accident but were unsuccessful in causing action to be taken. 

Michigan Bus Accident Attorney

On whether or not the school district had received the complaints the parents made involving Walker, Amy Kutcher, the Hamilton County School District Spokeswoman, declined to say. Kutcher would only admit to Walker being an employee who was hired by an outside contractor, Durham School Services. “Legally there is no way that we could discipline someone who is not our employee,” Kutcher continued to say, “We’ve got 192 Durham bus drivers. Obviously, this is a bad one.”  
  
The Durham School Services CEO,  David A Duke, did release a statement via twitter saying that the company is “devastated” by the accident and are working with authorities as well as school officials to investigate the crash. The NY Post researched that Durham School Services, "has had 346 crashes over two years, including three resulting in deaths and 142 with injuries, according to federal figures. During that period, it had 53 incidents involving unsafe driving violations."

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Walker actually had a sullied driving record. Not only was he found at fault in an accident in which his bus crossed the yellow line on a curve and hit another vehicle, on September 20th, but his license was also suspended for a month in 2014 for failing to show proof of insurance. Aside from a spotty driving record however, it did not appear that Walker had a criminal record in Tennessee. In fact, Walker's mother, Gwenevere Cook assured WDEF, “He don’t hang on the street, he don’t smoke, he don’t do drugs, he don’t drink. He’s never been in trouble, never, ever been in trouble.” Instead Walker was a father to a three-year old and a well-liked bus driver. 

Walker appeared before a judge on November 29, 2016 facing five counts of vehicular homicide and charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving. According to CNN, a police spokeswoman said that a sixth vehicular homicide charge would likely be added.


School bus accidents are even more saddening than regular bus accidents as they involve children. As heartbreaking as the Chattanooga bus crash was, citizens of Michigan should remember that any type of motor vehicle accident is always possible. Injuries sustained in automobile collisions can be minor or may even lead to death. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, including a public bus or school bus crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm is highly experienced in handling all types of automobile accidents and will fight to grant you any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan Law. Let us do the hard work while you and your family focus on healing. Contact us, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.