Pedestrians Are At Higher Risk Of Fatalities

Michigan is ranked the 19th most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians, according to Dangerous By Design’s 2019 report. In the Midwest, Michigan is the most dangerous state for pedestrians, with a total of 1,409 pedestrian fatalities being reported between 2008-2017.

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More specifically, the Detroit, Warren, and Dearborn metro area is ranked at 18 out of 20 metropolitan areas in the United States with the highest pedestrian fatalities, with 757 pedestrian fatalities between the years of 2008-2017. Also, since 2008, the number of pedestrian deaths increased by 35%, and according to another report analyzed by USA Today, the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) reported that 6,227 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2018.

One of the reasons for the increase in pedestrian deaths could be linked to an increase in the number of SUVs on the road. There are a few factors which play a role in SUV pedestrian deaths. The Detroit Free Press studied data from a July 2018 investigation and, “counted vehicles that struck and killed pedestrians rather than the number of people killed,” and noticed a 69% increase in SUV pedestrian deaths. The study also mentions that, “SUV front ends are taller, so they strike pedestrians higher on their bodies.” That means, an SUV is more likely to kill a pedestrian, whereas a smaller car such as a sedan would strike a person's leg and still injure them, but likely not kill them.

The time of day is also a significant factor in pedestrian car accidents. The Michigan State Police (MSP) found that, “most pedestrian fatalities occur between 6:00 PM and midnight.” So, pedestrians may not be able to choose the type of vehicle that hits them, but they can certainly take steps to avoid walking during the most dangerous time of day for pedestrian car crashes. And pedestrians should always be aware of how they can stay safe when walking, no matter the time of day. The MSP offers pedestrians safety precautions they can follow while walking, in hopes of preventing a pedestrian car accident.

Pedestrian Walking Safety Tips

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  • Use sidewalks whenever available.

  • Obey traffic signals.

  • Never cross mid-block.

  • Cross streets at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.

  • Always stop at the edge of a parked car, curb, or vehicle before walking out into traffic.

  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street and continue looking while crossing.

  • Make eye contact with drivers prior to crossing in front of them.

  • Never assume the vehicle driver can see you.

  • Walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible when walking along the roadway.

  • Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight when walking at night or in the early morning.

  • Never allow children under age 10 to cross the streets alone. Young children do not have the skills to accurately judge traffic risks.

  • Allow for enough time to safely cross the street.

A pedestrian becoming injured or even struck and killed by a vehicle is very tragic. Pedestrians and drivers in Michigan should be more aware of safety laws and driving speeds so they aren’t injured or killed in a pedestrian car accident, especially since Michigan has been ranked the 19th most dangerous state for pedestrians in the United States.


Even if a person is lucky enough to survive the impact of a car traveling 25 mph or more, depending on the road, they are usually severely injured in the car crash. Broken bones may heal but pedestrians often suffer traumatic brain injuries that alter their lives forever. The injury attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC’s fight to seek justice for pedestrians who are injured in automobile accidents. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Are Automated Traffic Cameras Harmful to Drivers?

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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.

Drivers Should Be Prepared for Heavy Christmas Traffic

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and for many of us, that means hitting the road and driving to visit friends and family. Time Magazine reported that approximately 100 million Americans travel between December 23 and January 3, and a whopping 90% of those travelers travel by car. That means traffic-a lot of traffic, and all of over the span of only a couple of days! And when more cars are on the road, it means car collisions are more likely to happen.

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It should be noted that Christmas traffic patterns are much harder to predict than Thanksgiving traffic patterns. Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday every year, making traffic flow on the days leading up to and after the holiday, pretty predictable, since it’s the same day of the week each year. Christmas, on the other hand, falls on a different day each year, making traffic more difficult to forecast. When the holiday falls in relation to the weekend, as well as when schools start winter break, can vary year to year and will impact travel days and traffic patterns. That being said, Waze, a navigation app, has released travel data from years past to help forecast what traffic will be like this year.

Since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, it is likely that Friday, December 22nd, will be the worst travel day. Specifically, traffic will be the heaviest between 3 PM and 6 PM when people start leaving work, but roads will be more congested than usual starting as early as 11 AM. In years past, Christmas Eve has also been a pretty heavy travel day. However since Christmas Eve is a Sunday this year, it's likely that many people will begin their travel on Friday or Saturday, and Christmas Eve traffic won't be as heavy as it's been in years past. Like Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day is the best day to travel, as traffic is at its lightest, and mimics weekend traffic patterns. Regardless of when your holiday travel plans are, it's important to be alert, as traffic flow probably won't be the same as it is on a normal day.

Waze’s data in regard to what destinations people are searching for on Christmas Eve likely won’t come as much of a surprise. Places of worship were by far the most searched for destination, seeing a 148% increase in searches. Before they go to church though, drivers appear to be running some last minute errands or trying to catch a flight. Grocery stores, restaurants, shopping areas, and airports all saw increases in number of searches as well, with most people making their drives between 10 AM and 4 PM. If you can, try and complete any urgent or last minute errands before Christmas Eve, and save yourself from a potential highway standstill!

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When it comes to returning home after Santa has made his visit, traffic is more spread out over a few days. Historically, December 27th has been the worst day in terms of return traffic. But since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, drivers' return trips will largely depend on what day of the week they need to be back at work. This means that there will likely be more variation as to what days people are heading home. Based on data from 2016, waiting to return home until the 28th, as opposed o the 27th, resulted in lighter traffic.

Sitting in traffic may not bring much holiday cheer, but it is an unavoidable part of traveling over the holidays. If you can plan your travel to avoid the most congested times, you may be able to avoid the worst of the gridlock. Also by avoiding traffic, you may be able to avoid expressing and being on the receiving end of aggressive driving behaviors. Road rage car accidents are often prevalent during rush hour, and are like to be worse at a time when millions of people are running late to Christmas dinner. 

If you do find yourself traveling at one of the more popular travel times, know that your drive to Grandma and Grandpa's house is probably going to take longer than usual. Allow yourself extra time to get where you need to be, and let friends and family know that traffic may make you a little late. No one likes sitting in traffic, but it's a part of the deal when it comes to holiday travel, and no holiday can be happy when a loved one has been injured in a car accident.


Heavier traffic which can lead to road rage and aggressive driving, combined with winter weather conditions, means that there may be many car crashes this holiday season. If you or a loved one become injured in a car crash due to aggressive driving, distracted driving, road rage, or winter weather, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney.

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. 

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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.”

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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.

Holiday Shopping Means Heavier Traffic

With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, family gatherings, and office holiday parties rapidly approaching, more and more Americans are going to be heading to the mall to do some shopping. As much as we tell ourselves the holidays aren’t about the gifts, Americans spend a lot of time and money each year buying presents for others (and quite possibly themselves). In fact, Fortune reported that holiday sales exceeded $1 trillion in 2016. And when that many people are heading to the mall, it not only means long checkout lines, but long traffic lines as well.

While Black Friday, which took place on November 24, 21017 is often thought of as the pinnacle of holiday shopping days, according to ShoppingTrak, Saturday, December 23, 2017, is a close second. While December 23rd may seem like an arbitrary date, the last Saturday before Christmas is known in retail as Super Saturday, because shoppers are finishing up finishing up their gift purchases or have left all of their shopping until the last minute. According to Fortune, 155.7 million people went shopping on Super Saturday in 2016. By the time Super Saturday rolls around, it is likely too late to be placing any online orders, so shoppers must go to the store. Rounding out the top five shopping days of the year are December 16, 2017, (the second to last Saturday before Christmas) December 26, 2017 (presumably when people are making returns and exchanges), and November 25, 2017 (the day after Black Friday).

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With millions of people going shopping on Super Saturday, and really throughout all of December, traffic near malls and shopping centers is going to be worse than usual. Whether you’re a shopper trying to get in on the action, or someone who finds themselves in the unfortunate position of living or working near a big shopping area, the traffic will be hard to miss. Parking lots will be chaotic, highway exits will be backed up, and more pedestrians than usual will be on the streets. And no matter how much you love the holidays, sitting in traffic can be frustrating, to say the least. So, to keep tempers down, driving school Aceable has some tips on to how drivers can avoid road rage when stuck in shopping traffic, and what to do should you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident with an aggressive driver.  

Tips for Avoiding Road Rage

  • Most road ragers are usually dealing with some sort of emotional crisis, so if your girlfriend or boyfriend just broke up with you (or got unpleasant news from your doctor, or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed), be extra careful when you get behind the wheel. Give yourself some time to defuse before getting behind the wheel.

  • Expect other drivers to make mistakes and remember that everyone is human. You’ll be less freaked out when they do.

  • Be predictable. Always check your blind spots and use your signals when you change lanes so you don’t turn anyone else into a road rager. Checking all the views around your vehicle and being a considerate driver should help with preventing road rage.

  • If it’s rush hour or you find yourself in a traffic jam due to an accident, listen to music and just come to terms with the fact that you’re going to run late. It’s okay. No need to be inconsiderate to drivers around you by making obscene gestures at people trying to merge into your lane.

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What To Do If You Enconter Road Rage

  • Avoid mad motorists, if at all possible. Ain’t nobody got time for that negative energy.

  • Don’t feed the trolls. If you try to speed up to pass an angry driver or prevent them from merging in your lane, it only makes things worse and can put your life in danger! Let them pass and leave plenty of room between you and that grump.

  • If an angry driver gives you the finger or makes another obscene gesture, be a grown up and ignore it. Such gestures have gotten people physically attacked many times. Um, no thanks.

  • Honk that horn only if you really have to for defensive driving purposes… like if a driver is merging into your lane and doesn’t appear to see you. Don’t use your horn if you’re simply annoyed because you’re sitting in traffic. We’re all in the same boat … er, car. Honking your horn is meant to be used to alert other drivers, not to scold them. Take the high road, engage in polite driving.

  • Don’t be afraid to report aggressive drivers to the authorities. You could save a life and prevent road rage from causing a bigger issue.

  • If you see a driver with road rage get into an auto accident, be cautious about approaching the vehicle and driver. Stop a safe distance away from them, then call the police to report the incident. Aggressive drivers can be unpredictable and it’s important to keep yourself safe

  • If an aggressive driver starts following you, don’t go home. Call the police and drive to the nearest police station. You don’t want to become the victim of a road rage attack.

While the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, sitting in traffic, especially when you're trying to get last minute shopping done, can be anything but. No one likes sitting in traffic when they could be doing literally anything else, but no one likes getting in automobile accidents either. When shopping on Super Saturday, or doing any other holiday shopping this season, know that the mall is going to be busy, and things will likely be moving more slowly than usual. Remain calm, put on some holiday music, and remember that the holidays don’t last forever. Soon your Saturdays will consist of more than just sitting in mall traffic, and you won't be spending your time dealing with accident attorneys, insurance companies, and body shops, since you avoided getting into an aggressive driving car crash. 


Sitting in traffic can be frustrating, but it's important to not let that frustration get the best of you, and result in unsafe aggressive driving behaviors, which can lead to road rage car accidents. If you become the victim of an aggressive driving car accident, talk to an experienced accident lawyer at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Drivers Should Be Prepared for Heavy Thanksgiving Traffic

Thanksgiving is here, and for many of us, that means overeating, watching football, and leftover turkey sandwiches for weeks. It also means that many of us will be piling in the car and hitting the highway in order to do so. Thanksgiving, and the days surrounding it, are some of the busiest travel days of the year, with millions of Americans traveling to see loved ones.

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Thanksgiving weekend is generally considered to include Wednesday evening, and all day Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with some resources including Tuesday afternoon as well. According to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the number of long distance trips during this time period increases by 54% as compared to the average number of long distance trips the rest of the year. While TV news reports are often focused on long airport security lines and flight delays, USDOT reports that 91% of long distance holiday travel is by vehicle. They also note that the average long distance Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles, with about half of all travelers completing their trip within the same day, and not spending any nights away. Over Thanksgiving weekend, 53% of long distance trips are to visit friends and family, whereas this only accounts for about 24% of long distance trips during the rest of the year.

According to Travel and Leisure, an estimated 41,900,000 people piled into their cars over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015. With that many people on the road, traffic is going to bad. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday after are when the roads are at their worst, but roads are more congested than usual for the whole weekend. Time reports that roads start seeing an increase in traffic at about 1:00 PM on Tuesday, with gridlock setting in from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Heavy traffic returns on Wednesday morning at around 11:00 AM, and stays that way all day, with 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM being the worst of it. When coming home after the holiday, traffic is up to 60% worse on Saturday than it is on Sunday. If you’re able to complete your trip in one day, Thursday is the day to do it. Traffic on Thanksgiving day mimics weekend traffic patterns, meaning if you leave in the morning or evening (avoiding mid-day) you shouldn’t see too much slow down.

Detroiters should be warned that they likely won’t be able to avoid traffic this Thanksgiving, as Northbound US 23 and Northbound I-75 Merge in Detroit rank #9 on ABC News’ list of America’s Top 10 Most Congested Roads. They say that “this stretch of road near Flint, Mich., attracts people fleeing to the beautiful northern Michigan forests for turkey and fun. Cabin owners, resort seekers and deer hunters flock north from Detroit, Indiana, Ohio and even Chicago.”

Unsurprisingly, data giant Google has been collecting information via their Maps app about our Thanksgiving travel habits. Google reports that “ham shop”, “pie shop”, and “liquor shop” are the most searched for terms on Maps on Wednesday, as people do last minute cooking or need to pick up a hostess gift. Likely a result of cooking mishaps in years past, “buffet restaurants” are what’s most searched for the most on Thanksgiving day. On Black Friday, Americans are searching for “electronics store”, “outlet mall”, and “Christmas tree farm” the most. In Detroit, however, the most searched for item on Black Friday is “hamburgers”.

So many people traveling over a certain time period unfortunately means that accidents are going to happen. According to the National Safety Council, there were 391 traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving period in 2016. This accounted for 12.84% of all traffic deaths during November of 2016. That number is up from 301 deaths over the same time period in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA notes that 50% of the people who died in automobile accidents over Thanksgiving in 2015 were not wearing seat belts. National Safety Council has the following tips for how drivers can be safe and prepared when traveling over the holiday.

thanksgiving traffic

 While following these tips can’t guarantee you won’t be in any accidents this Thanksgiving, it could help reduce the likelihood. Heavy traffic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel over the holiday, but it does mean you should be prepared and know how it will affect your travel plans. Check traffic and weather before you leave, and know that your route will likely take longer than it does on a normal day. Try and stay calm when you’re stuck in traffic, and know that everyone else is likely just as frustrated as you are. And of course, making good choices like wearing a seat belt and not getting behind the wheel while drunk are behaviors that should be practiced year round.


While Thanksgiving leads to hugely heavy traffic, car collisions happen anytime of year. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 
 

Kalamazoo Bike Accident Could Change Michigan Law

A 2016 bicycle accident in Kalamazoo, Michigan that sent shockwaves through the community is still having an impact over a year later. On June 7, 2016, 5 bicyclists were killed by a speeding driver, and on September 27, 2017, the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on a group of bills designed to change state laws in order to protect cyclists. According to Mlive, survivors of the crash Paul Gobble and Jennifer Johnson say that they have observed “animosity towards bicyclists using the roads” and that “it's time to make Michigan safer." The proposed bills aim to do just that.

The Kalamazoo crash was the worst in Michigan’s history, killing 5 and seriously injuring 4 others. A social cycling group called The Chain Gang had departed out on a ride to Plainwell, Michigan and back. About half an hour into the ride, a speeding, blue Chevy pickup truck came flying down Westnedge Ave, driven by Charles Pickett Jr., and collided with the group from behind. Tony Nelson, 73; Larry Paulik, 74; Debra Bradley, 53; Melissa Fevig Hughes, 42; and Suzanne Sippel, 56, were all pronounced dead at the scene. Sheila Jeske, 54, and Paul Runnels, 66, survived along with Gobble, 48, and Johnson, 42. The survivors say they are still dealing with the physical and psychological effects of the crash.

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Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage and Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, introduced a package of bills aimed at protecting cyclists on the road. The bills now heads to the Senate floor. Currently, Michigan is one of only seven states to not have laws requiring cars to pass cyclists safely. The proposed bills are as follows.

Proposed Bicyclist Road Safety Bills

  • Senate Bills 123 and 170 require cars to observe a five-foot passing zone for bicycles.

  • Senate Bill 124, sponsored by O'Brien, requires driver training courses to include at least one hour of education on the laws pertaining to bicycles, motorcycles, and other vulnerable roadway users.  

  • Senate Bill 330, sponsored by O'Brien, allows prosecutors to count a driver whose license had expired or suspended in another state as having a suspended or revoked license when they are charged with operation of a vehicle causing death while holding a suspended or revoked license or registration.

  • Senate Bills 580 and 581, sponsored by Knezek, expand the prohibition on texting while driving to include the use of a computer, tablet, camera, or other internet-based communication device, and update sentencing guidelines.

Mlive reported that Pickett was charged with 5 counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, 5 counts of second degree murder, and 4 counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury. Also, According to a police report, officers found marijuana, a small amount of methamphetamine, rum, vodka, beer and wine in Pickett's pickup truck after the crash." Nearly a year and a half after the crash, Pickett’s trial still has yet to occur. It was originally scheduled for April 24, 2017, and then rescheduled for September 19. 

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In that time, Pickett was denied application for leave to appeal his second degree murder charges. Pickett’s attorney, argued that evidence used to charge his client with second degree murder was insufficient. His lawyer says that an interview between his client and a detective that took place in a hospital directly following the crash violated Pickett’s constitutional rights, and therefore could not be used as evidence. His lawyer also argued his client should be charged with reckless driving causing death, but not second degree murder. The court denied the application, “for failure to persuade the Court of the need for immediate appellate review." Pickett plans on pleading insanity to the charges.

This past June, on the one year anniversary of the accident, a mass was held to honor the victims. The Chain Gang also held their first annual Finish the Ride Memorial Ride, a 27-mile bike ride to remember the victims and honor the survivors of the tragedy, following the same route the riders were planning on doing the day of the crash.

Bike accidents are unfortunately common in the United States, with many receiving little to no media attention. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicyclists made up 2% of all traffic related deaths and 2% of all crash related injuries in 2014. In 2015 alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 1,000 cyclists deaths, and over 467,000 bicyclists were injured. The NHTSA also found that bicyclists deaths were more likely to occur between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM, and in urban areas. This is likely due to decreased visibility when the sun goes down, and congested city streets. Bicyclists who are killed are usually males between the ages of 20 and 24. The NHTSA notes that, “a large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other." The NHTSA also provides the following tips for motorists and cyclists to safely share the road.

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.

  • In parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.

  • Drivers turning right on red should look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.

  • Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions, and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.

  • Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.

Safety Tips for Cyclists

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  • Check your law to make sure sidewalk riding is legal.

  • Watch for pedestrians.

  • Pass pedestrians with care by first announcing “on your left” or “passing on your left” or use a bell.

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic. This way, if the sidewalk ends, you are already riding with the flow of traffic. If crossing a street, motorists will look left, right, left for traffic. When you are to the driver’s left, the driver is more likely to see you.

  • Slow and look for traffic (left-right-left and behind) when crossing a street from a sidewalk; be prepared to stop and follow the pedestrian signals.

  • Slow down and look for cars backing out of driveways or turning.

Drivers and bicyclists learning to share the road with each other is key to reducing the number of cyclist injuries and fatalities due to car accidents. While those on bikes are the ones most likely to be injured or killed, both parties need to be aware of and watch out for each other. While bicycle car accidents can’t be avoided altogether, drivers and bicyclists can work together to ensure travel safety. Whether it be by following tips from organizations like the NHTSA, or through bills like the ones Senators O’Brien and Knezek are hoping to pass, bicyclists need more protections on the road so accidents like the one in Kalamazoo don’t become the norm.


While drivers and cyclists can both work to ensure that those traveling on bikes are safer, bicycle car accidents still happen. What's worse is that bicyclists are more likely to be injured and to suffer more serious injuries than those in the motor vehicle, when involved in a bicycle car accident. If you or a loved have been the victim of an automobile collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let our highly experienced attorneys handle the legal matters while you focus on recovering from your injuries.   

School Bus Traffic Safety Laws for Drivers

As students across Michigan return to classes for the new school year, drivers are sure to notice an increased number of school buses on the road. School buses are an excellent mode of transportation for students. In fact, riding a bus is safer than walking or driving a family vehicle. More so, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), students are 70x more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus as opposed to traveling in a car. The reason for this level of safety may be due to how school buses are designed. First, the bright yellow color of a school bus makes it highly visible. Then, the equipped flashing lights, cross-view mirrors, and stop-sign arms, not to mention protective seating inside the bus, also help to keep students safe.

Michigan School Bus Accident Lawyer

In addition to these design elements, there are traffic laws put in place that also keep school buses safe on the road. However, the traffic laws that drivers must follow when driving near a school bus can be a source of confusion, and not following these laws properly may lead to a school bus crash on the road or a pedestrian car crash at a student crossing. According to the NHSTA, more school-age pedestrians are killed during the hour before or after school than any other time of day, largely due to drivers not stopping when they are near school buses. Data published by the NHSTA shows that 1,353 people were killed in accidents involving school buses between 2003 and 2014. Of those who died, 71% were not on the school bus but were were traveling in other vehicles, such as sedans and SUVs.

School bus traffic laws can be confusing, but the Michigan State Police has offers the following recommendations to help drivers avoid becoming involved in school bus car crashes.

School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers

  1. Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing.

  2. Stop at least 20 feet away for buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway.

  3. Slow down in or near school and residential areas.

  4. Look for clues-such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds-that indicate children might be in the area.

  5. Watch for children between parked cars and other objects.

  6. School buses are like traffic signals:
    • When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop.
    • When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop.
    • When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution.

School Bus Safety Tips for Students

  1. Always stay in sight of the bus driver.
  2. Don't hurry off the bus; check traffic first.
  3. Don't go back to the bus after exiting.

As the NHSTA notes, the greatest risk does not come from riding the bus, but from approaching or leaving one. While following these tips cannot guarantee bus accidents won't happen, they may help keep both students and drivers safe by reducing the number of injuries and deaths from school bus accidents. 


Stopping for school buses is the law, but this law is not always followed. Not stopping for school buses may result in injury or death for those who are on the school bus, those who are traveling in other vehicles, and even pedestrians. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a school bus crash or any type of bus accident, call The Michigan Law Firm PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our firm is experienced in handling personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases.
 

Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights Safety Tips

Classic cars all over Michigan are being dusted off and tuned up in preparation for the return of the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, which officially kicks off this Saturday, August 19, 2017! This weekend long event is the largest single day celebration of automobiles in the world, attracting over one million spectators and over 40,000 classic vehicles, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Dream Cruise sparks many mixed emotions every year. For fans of the annual event, it is an extended weekend of awesome, classic cars showing off their muscle and style for the city that created the automotive industry. As for the individuals who dread the Dream Cruise, the event only means nearly a full weekend of traffic and detours on roads connected to Woodward Avenue.

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While all of the discussions surrounding the Dream Cruise revolve around excitement or dreading traffic, the one issue that is not generally discussed is safety. It's peculiar that car accident and pedestrian accident safety are the elephant in the room when discussing an event involving thousands of vehicles. In other words, the Woodward Dream Cruise is an event that presents a lot of safety risks and accident dangers if one is not paying attention to their surroundings.

Last year, per CBS Detroit, a day before the official Dream Cruise date, a southbound vehicle lost control and ended up crossing the median, taking out a portable bathroom in its path, and then crashing head on with a northbound vehicle. Thankfully, only two cars were involved in the crash and no one was injured. Yet, it is only more reason for both spectators and cruisers to be cautious this year.

Woodward Dream Cruise Car Accident Lawyer

As reported by Detroit Free Press, Roadkill Nights is also returning this year, one week before the Woodward Dream Cruise, this Saturday, August 12, 2017. Roadkill Nights is a legal street racing event sponsored by Dodge that will take place on a closed off section of Woodward Avenue. This year will mark the event's 3rd year and will take place on August 12th. Attendees should take even more precaution during this event as on top of having tons of cars present, this event also involves cars speeding down Woodward avenue. 

Watching these cars show off their style while cruising, or speed while racing, can be quite a spectacle. Differences between the two events aside however, since both the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights are car related events, safety is the number one priority in order to minimize the many safety risks. Below are some tips for both spectators and drivers to follow to ensure safe and enjoyable weekends. These tips have been consolidated from Woodward Dream Cruise enthusiasts including The Detroit News, The Oakland Free Press, and Hagerty.

Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Night Safety Tips For Spectators

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. There will be cars everywhere so make sure you know whether they are parked or getting ready to be driven.
  • Do not watch cars while standing or sitting on the medians as they are meant to remain clear for police, and as the porta potty incident mentioned above points out, medians are not exactly safe. 
  • If you plan to sit and watch the cars, make sure to bring sunscreen and stay hydrated! It is the middle of August after all!
  • Always keep a safe distance away from the road. Make sure to keep an eye out for any unsupervised children that may be hanging around too close as well.

Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Night Safety Tips For Drivers

Woodward Dream Cruise Accident Safety Tips
  • Keep your head on a swivel and always be aware of pedestrians. 
  • Drive at a low speed if you are anywhere near Woodward Avenue, especially if you are cruising.
  • If you are cruising do not expect to go fast. Keep calm and remain a patient driver.
  • Know which lane to drive. It is a general rule of thumb that non-cruisers should use the left two lanes, while cruisers use the right two lanes so they are more visible to spectators. 
  • For Dream Cruisers, performing burnouts, squealing tires and drag racing are all prohibited and could result in a hefty fine.
  • Know that cars can overheat due to hot weather, so moderate your car’s engine.
  • Absolutely do not drink and drive! Btoh events are alcohol-free and drinking laws will be enforced.

Whether you are a fan of the Woodward Dream Cruise or just counting down the days until Woodward Avenue returns to normal, understand that the event draws over one million spectators. There are many safety risks and car crash and pedestrian accident possibilities that are present when such a large number of people gather to enjoy the sight of thousands of motor vehicles. These risks may be minimized if spectators and drivers both take cautionary safety measures for themselves and each other. So, stay safe and enjoy the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise and the 2017 Roadkill Nights!


The Woodward Dream Cruise weekend is full of awesome spectacles of stylish rides and muscle cars, but also presents motor vehicle accident risks due to the number of vehicles in attendance. It is important for both drivers and spectators to be conscious of each other's safety. If you or anyone you know has been hit by a car or has been in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Overheated Car? Here's A Few Tips.

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It’s rush hour, the freeway is packed, it's 90 degrees outside and the air conditioning is at full blast in the car. While most drivers are busy complaining about the stop and go traffic, they may not notice their car's temperature gauge edging past the middle line and slowly creeping toward ‘H’. Then the ‘check engine light’ comes on and the driver realizes they didn’t check their fluids last weekend like they were supposed to. Just as this comes to mind, the vehicle begins to lag and stutter and soon smoke plumes began to rise from underneath the hood of the car. Now they are stuck on the side of the road.

How Do Cars Overheat?

There are actually quite a few things that can lead a car to overheat. Luckily however, many of the ways cars overheat are often times fixable and even avoidable. As mentioned above, one way a car can overheat, is if not enough engine coolant is put into the vehicle, causing the remaining fluid to congeal and no longer circulate between the radiator and the engine. When the coolant is unable to circulate, it causes the engine to work harder and burn out. The engine congealed coolant can also form a blockage and prevent the radiator from fairly distributing the heat from the engine. Other possible factors that can cause a blockage are, a build up of inside or outside fluids, the thermostat’s flap refusing to open and close, and even an unknown or forgotten object getting lodged in the cooling system.

A car engine's cooling system is a very temperamental thing that should be kept an eye on, in order to sport potential leaks that can allow air to get inside the system and form a bubble, which in turn causes coolant fluid to be blocked from reaching where it needs to go.

Another leading cause of cars overheating, is a failed water pump. The cooling system inside a car relies on water to keep the vehicle at a reasonable temperature, and without it can lead a car to overheat within minutes.

Overheated Car Tips

With the dog days of summer in full effect, now is the time to brush up on what to do when a vehicle is overheated. Thankfully, AAMCO, an American transmission repair company, has a few tips on how drivers can prevent their car from overheating and what to do in case it does.

Source: GIPHY, Fox Broadcasting Company's  The X-Files

Source: GIPHY, Fox Broadcasting Company's The X-Files

  • “If the air conditioning is on, turn it off and roll down the windows.” Then, turn the car's heat on instead and roll down the windows to reroute some of the heat from the engine.
  • If the car's temperature continues to rise, it’s best to turn on the hazard lights and maneuver the vehicle to a safe area. If the driver feels that the area they are in is not safe, AAMCO assures that a stop and go method until arriving at a safe destination is reasonable, as long as the driver waits long enough for the car to cool a bit before driving onward.
  • Once a driver is in a well lit and safe space, they should take note of any possible smoke rising from the hood of the car and see if the hood feels extremely hot to the touch. This will help them determine if it is safe to open up the hood of the car and proceed to analyze if the engine or the radiator is the issue. However, touching anything is a big no-no until everything has cooled down.
  • It should go without saying that an overheating car should be immediately fixed by a state licensed mechanic in order to prevent possible car fires and accidents. A driver could become anxious and distracted while driving and trying to handle the fact that their car is overheating, causing other drivers to panic or react rashly.
  • It usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour for the engine and radiator to cool, after which, the driver can safely proceed to check the engine's coolant to see where the fluid level exactly is. If the coolant seems dangerously low or none seem to be inside, a 50/50 mixture of water and engine coolant is the best way to go.
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  • If the engine coolant level seems fine, the next place to look is the hoses. The hoses could have possibly been severed or have a leak. Look around for any puddles of fluid on the ground, and if that help find the leak, listen to see if any fluids are draining from the car.
  • “Restart the car and check the temperature gauges on the dash.” Then, eyeball the temperature gauge to see if it still reads in the red. If not, proceed forward, but if it still reads that the car is hot, turn it off and wait a while for the vehicle to cool. After a while, if the car is still overheating, there are one of two possible explanations-either the temperature gauge is broken or the vehicle needs to be serviced.

Though these tips don't guarantee that inexperienced people will be able to fix an overheating car by themselves, without the help of a licensed professional, they may be good temporary suggestions that drivers can consider while waiting for a professional to come to their aid. At the very least, drives who are concerned that their car is overheated or sense that their motor vehicle is acting up while on the road, should immediately pull over, in order to avoid a car collision, and then call for help. The last thing drivers want is their car to stop in the middle of the highway or an intersection, bringing on the risk of becoming involved in a car accident.


An overheating car is not something to take lightly. Drivers should make sure to service their vehicles regularly, and especially when the 'check engine' light comes on, to prevent future wear and tear on car parts that can hinder a motor vehicle's performance. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney today.  

Driving Road Rage Killing In Ada, Michigan

Road rage is once again to blame for claiming another victim in Ada, Michigan. In October 2016, ex-boxer Christian Hilman, 19, was driving his dirt bike home in front of General Motors retiree William McFarlan, 64, when McFarlan began honking his horn and flashing his lights at Hilman. Finally, Hilman had enough of McFarlan driving behind him and turned into a church parking lot where McFarlan decided to follow him. It is said the two engaged in a heated argument before McFarlan placed his hands on Hilman's neck and the two began to fight. Eyewitnesses say that the fight resulted in “McFarlan collapsing by his pickup truck and Hilman continuing to kick him.” After police were called, Hilman was arrested and McFarlan was rushed to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, including fractured ribs and a fractured skull. Unfortunately, nearly five weeks after the assault, McFarlan passed away due to the severity of his injuries.

Medical malpractice

At first, Hilman would have only faced 10 years in prison with an assault charge, but now in light of McFarlan’s death, Hilman has been charged with murder in the second degree and is facing up to 100 years in prison. “I think just because someone gets angry in a road rage incident, it doesn’t justify assaulting and killing a man,'' said Blair Lachman, Kent County Assistant Prosecutor. However, Michael Bartish, a defense attorney, argues that, “Whatever happened, Mr. McFarlan [followed] Christian into that parking lot...There is no reason for that vehicle to have followed him into that parking lot unless the intent was for a fight.’’ Bartish feels that, Hilman a voluntary manslaughter charge would be more appropriate thatn a second degree murder charge, since the crime occurred in the heat of passion.

Tips To Handle Road Rage

Unfortunately, road rage is starting to become a common behavior on American roadways, due to the increase in the number of motorists on the road, an uptick in aggressive driving maneuvers, and personal factors affecting individual motorists. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC does not condone road rage or aggressive driving behaviors. Neither does DMV.org, who provided the following tips for those drivers who find themselves in driving situations in which they become angry at another driver or another driver engages in aggressive driving behavior towards them.

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  • Maintain your space. This tip does not only refer to keeping enough brake space between cars, but for drivers to do what they need to in order to distance themselves from stressful drivign situations and to remain calm behind the wheel. Playing calming music, a funny podcast, or simply planning ahead for their commute, can prevent drivers from becoming angry.

  • Avoid making eye contact. If the angry driver cannot make eye contact, they will hopefully fume for a moment and continue on their way.

  • Keep your hands on the wheel. Keeping hands busy at 10-and-2 and refraining from making obscene gestures can keep motorists from fanning the flames of anger from other drivers.

  • Show remorse. If a wrong was committed, be the bigger person and correct it by mouthing sorry, waving to the other driver to acknowledge the wrong, or moving out of their way so they can pass.

  • If all else fails - call the police. There may come a time when none of the above tips will help avoid an aggressive driving accident, and the agitated driver may proceed to commit bodily harm to a fellow motorist. In this case, if possible, drivers who find themselves in this situation should pull over and call the police.

Drivers who find themselves engaging in aggressive driving behaviors and have tried bullying someone off the road should remember that acting on violent urges, like what happened between Hilman and McFarlan, can lead to serious consequences. If police catch a driver in the act they could be fined, possibly face prison or jail time, not mention, the aggressive drive will will have to live with a severe assault or a road rage fatality on their conscience.


The altercation between McFarlan and Hilman should serve as a cautionary tale to those who feel they need to teach an aggressive driver a lesson. It is best that the proper authorities handle any road rage incidents, in order to prevent escalating a potential aggressive driving situation. Have you or a loved one been a victim of a road rage car accident? Contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. We know going through the legal process can be scary, but our firm is here to help victims of car accidents every step of the way. 

New Traffic Signal Helps Save Pedestrian Lives

One New York City suburb has gone without a single pedestrian-motor vehicle accident in the past year. Leonia, New Jersey has implemented a new traffic signal for one of the area's busiest crossroads. The intersection between Fort Lee Road and Broad Avenue has introduced an all-red phase traffic signal, stopping traffic in all directions for 26 seconds every other cycle. 

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The intersection is often congested with vehicles trying to take a different route across the Hudson River, other than the crowded George Washington Bridge. With all four directions temporarily turned red, pedestrians can safely cross the busy intersection and even cross diagonally if desired.

During the two years before the introduction of the all-red signal phase, 7 pedestrians were hit by cars at the intersection. One New Jersey woman was dragged more than 70 feet along the road, leading to her death.  

Mayor Judah Zeigler told USA TODAY, “If we had kept going down the course we were going down, it was really a matter of when, not if, another pedestrian would be killed.”  

Senior citizens, who take longer to cross the road, and students benefit the most from the all red-signal, according to Chief Thomas Rowe of the Leonia Police Department. Many students walk to a nearby elementary school that is less than a block away from the intersection. School foot traffic coincides with rush hour, further clogging the roads and endangering pedestrians. 

Rowe said, “The benefits have been exactly what we were hoping for, and there’s absolutely no reason for us to go back to the way it used to be. I can’t allow our pedestrians to be put in danger.” 

While some motorists have complained about traffic being further delayed by the all-red signal phase, it is clear that pedestrian safety is the number one priority for the city of Leonia. 

Throughout the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says on average, a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in traffic crashes. Considering this staggering statistic, it is no surprise that towns such as Leonia are taking steps to improve pedestrian safety. In addition, both pedestrians and drivers can take steps to keep roads safer. People on foot should use sidewalks to cross streets whenever possible, be visible with bright or reflective clothing, and never assume that automobile drivers see them. Motor vehicle operators on the other hand, should always watch for pedestrians, slow down, and be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk, and use extra caution in hard-to-see conditions, like at night or in bad weather. 

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Accidents happen; that's reality. However, efforts taken by cities like Leonia to make roads safer for pedestrians may help prevent serious injuries or fatalities from car crashes. Everyone has been a pedestrian at some point in their lives. If all it takes to keep people on their feet is stopping at a red traffic light for 26 seconds longer, more cities need to take note in order to reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions. 


Chickens aren't the only ones trying to cross the road. Pedestrians walking on busy roads are constantly at risk of being hit by a motor vehicle, even when all they want is to get to the other side. If you or someone you know has been involved in a pedestrian motor vehicle collision, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Birmingham, Michigan's Recent City Updates

The City of Birmingham, Michigan is effecting safety improvements, fixing roads, and making parking easier for everyone who spends time in this beautiful city. Read further to check out the latest local news developments.

Internet Purchase Exchange Zone

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The Birmingham Police Department has set up an internet purchase exchange location for buyers and sellers using websites such as Craigslist to buy and sell items. The zone is in the parking lot on the south side of City Hall, located at 151 Martin Street, with a sign posted in the designated area. 

Though residents are encouraged to make exchanges during daylight hours, the exchange zone is well-lit if it is necessary to meet after dark. The lot is also under video surveillance at all times. The internet purchase exchange location was established to minimize potential fraud and robberies that can be associated with these types of transactions. 

After-Hours Drop Box

A drop box behind City Hall is currently accepting parking tickets, absentee ballots, property tax paperwork, water bills, and other city documents, for those looking to take care of business after hours or during holidays. The green box is located in the parking lot on the south side of the building.

Local Construction Projects

Three local streets are being reconstructed this summer.

  • Oak Street, from Glenhurst Drive to Chesterfield Avenue. This street is the student drop-off area for drivers of children attending Quarton Elementary School. The street will be narrowed to allow sufficient space for the construction of a separate two-lane drop-off area. The work is scheduled to be finished before school starts in the fall. 
  • Poppleton Avenue, from Knox Avenue to Maple Road. This road is the entrance to the Kroger shopping center parking lot, so it will be kept open while under construction. The work will be done in phases to allow continued access to businesses. Residents living north of this construction area will be encouraged to use a different entrance into the subdivision for the five weeks the construction is expected to take place. 
  • Lawndale Ave, from Oakland Avenue to Woodward Avenue. This one-way section of road will be reconstructed to add extra green space to the traffic island in between Lawndale Avenue and Woodward Avenue, making the road 4 feet narrower than it currently is.
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Other local streets will be resurfaced with new asphalt during September and October. Those streets are:

  • Ashford Lane-South off of Quarton Road.
  • Millrace Court-South off of Lakeside Drive.
  • Hidden Ravines Drive, Trail, and Court-West off of Southfield Road. 

In addition to road construction projects, several sidewalk concrete repair projects are currently underway throughout Birmingham. All sidewalk repairs in the area north of Maple Road, between the Rouge River and Adams Road, are scheduled to be fixed, along with repairs on the northeast corner of the Central Business District.  

Traffic Control Technology at Parking Structures

The City of Birmingham installed new traffic control equipment earlier this year to make parking more reliable at all of the City's parking structures. Drivers must use a credit/debit card or IN card (a card that can be loaded with different amounts of money) to pay for parking. The system does not accept cash or require tickets, helping to prevent a backup at exits where drivers that stop to look for their tickets may hold up traffic. 

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IN cards can be purchased at the SP+ Parking Office at the Chester Street Parking Structure or at the Treasurer's Office in City Hall. They cost $10, and can then be loaded with $25, $50, $100, or $200. IN cards can also be purchased with a zero-dollar balance, for drivers parking under two hours. The parking office at 180 Chester can reload the card if the balance is running low. 

Other new technology that has recently been installed at local parking structures is a parking widget on the City website. Visitors can check the number of available spaces at each parking structure by visiting www.bhamgov.org or by using the mobile-enabled feature on their smart phones to click on the green and white parking logo at the top right corner of the screen. Users are also able to review maps of the parking location and get directions to them. 

Additional improvements coming soon include new signs outside each parking structure that will display in real time  the number of spaces still available. Drivers do not even have to be in Birmingham to access parking information with the latest technology for the parking structures. 

With so much going on around Birmingham, it is important to stay safe and be aware of one’s surroundings, to help prevent accidents from happening. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC cares about the local community, and helps keep residents informed so injuries don’t occur. 


Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Staying informed about improvements and construction in the community may prevent injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Birmingham, Michigan automobile accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Fourth Of July Travel Safety Tips

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As the Fourth of July, one of the most anticipated holidays of the year, approaches, many American families are preparing to travel to celebrate this patriotic day. Thousands of people take to the roads on Independence Day, contributing to what U.S. News describes as “the busiest summer travel holiday.” This year, the holiday weekend will extend longer than normal, from Friday, June 30th to Tuesday, July 4th, when AAA Travel says a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home. As a result, drivers need to extra careful when traveling on the roads over the longer weekend, since other drivers may have over-indulged in celebratory beverages at barbecues and parties.

To avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident, travelers may want to follow the Fourth of July Travel Safety Tips below, recommended by TODAY:

  • Follow basic safety practices. Wearing seatbelts, using helmets, being mindful of speed limits, and remembering to not drink and drive can go a long way to keeping roads safe.
  • Take preventative measures. Check oil levels and tire pressure, along with coolant levels, because cars may overheat when stuck in traffic. Car owners may also benefit from a check-up with a mechanic, prior to a long road trip, to examine vehicles for any unusual problems that might impede driving vacation.
  • Plan trips with timing in mind. If it can be helped, it can be safer to travel a few days before or a few days after the Fourth of July, as the days closer to the holiday tend to be more congested.
  • Keep a safe following distance. Stay three seconds or more behind the car, truck, or motorcycle in front of you. This will allow you enough time to brake if you need to stop suddenly.
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  • Minimize distractions. Keep phones put away and out of reach, leave snacks and drinks in the cooler, and turn the radio stations on before leaving the driveway. If mobile devices absolutely must be in the car, hand them to a passenger to control or utilize one of these safety apps researched by The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC to help prevent a deadly collision from distracted driving. Besides these distractions, road trips also call for additional reasons to focus on the road. Arguments, even if they are in the backseat, may make drivers anxious or cause them to take their eyes and ears off the road. Pets, along for the vacation, should be kept inside a carrier or fascinated into pet-specific seat belts, so as not to jump into the front seat and distract the driver. Additionally, loose items like sunglasses and maps might fall from the dashboard or overhead sun visors, startling drivers enough to threaten the safety of everyone in the car.
  • Know where you are going. Look up directions for road trip routes beforehand, making a plan for the hours spent on the road. Enlist a passenger to help navigate, so that the driver can focus on getting to the destination safely. Remember not to look at a phone screen for distractions while also behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.  
  • Get plenty of rest. Prior to traveling over the Independence Day weekend, don’t forget to sleep in the midst of packing and planning. Lack of sleep can lead to drowsiness while driving, which is a risk factor for severe car crashes. Car drivers should take frequent breaks and rotate drivers if necessary.
Michigan Car Crash Attorney

The Fourth of July can be fun for everyone, as it is a day off work to enjoy the summer weather, cook out in backyards, and swim in the lake. Holiday road trips are a great way to bond with family and friends, and visit destinations, both new locales and well-loved spots. However, drivers must always be cautious of their surroundings, especially during such a busy time for travelers. Keep flashes of red, white, and blue to the fireworks in the sky instead of blinking on top of police cars. There is no doubt which would make the Founding Fathers more proud.


The 4th of July is a day to celebrate freedom for all people in the United States of America. Driving is a privilege not a freedom. Don't take advantage of the holiday as a reason to drive dangerously, drunkenly, or distractedly this upcoming Independence Day weekend. If you or someone you know has been a victim of an automobile collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

90% Of Motorcyclists Killed In 2016 Had No Formal Training

Although May was National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, today, June 19, is International Ride to Work Day. Today, motorcyclists worldwide are celebrating their favorite form of transportation. Motorcycles give a certain freedom and excitement to drivers, unique from other boxed-in vehicles on the road. Add to that the fact that the weather in Michigan is starting to heat up, motorcyclists are starting to increase in number on the roads.

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Unfortunately however, not all motorcycle drivers ride safely, and often motorcycles don't stand a chance of surviving a collision against the giant hunks of metal that are cars and trucks, moving alongside motorcycles on the roads. According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, nearly 90% of motorcyclists killed in crashes on Michigan roads last year had no formal training during the last ten years. This is a staggering statistic, especially considering the wide number of training classes available across the state. However, many motorcycle accidents may be preventable if riders receive the proper training these classes provide and an official endorsement. 

Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

The Michigan Department of State encourages programs that educate people on the safety of operating a motorcycle. There are multiple types of motorcycle training classes offered, through both public and private organizations, all as part of the Michigan Rider Education Program. And it is not just first-time riders who have the opportunity to take Michigan motorcycle driving classes. Beyond the Basic Rider course for beginners, other classes include: the Three-Wheel Basic Rider course for those who want to learn to ride three-wheel (instead of two-wheel) motorcycles, a Returning Rider Course for experienced drivers looking to refresh previously learned motorcycle skills, and an Advanced Rider course for already endorsed motorcycle drivers who want to brush up their riding skills.

With such a range of training class options, it seems silly for those operating a motorcycle to think they do not need training. Yet, the facts are there. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there was an 8% increase in fatalities from motorcycle crashes, nationally from 2014 to 2015. Obviously, the number of deaths from motorcycle accidents in the United States is only increasing. With many of these deaths being able to be prevented with simple training courses, there is a need for more awareness and exposure regarding these types of classes.
 
Michigan residents are encouraged to check Michigan.gov for the location of nearby motorcycle training classes that have been approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). In addition to taking a motorcycle safety class, motorcyclists may be interested in reading some general safety tips for motorcyclists, that The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously posted.

Michigan Motorcycle Car Crash Lawyer

Inexperienced and unprotected drivers may put themselves in dangerous situations that may lead to serious injuries or death from a motorcycle crash. The training classes the State of Michigan offers may be able to teach proper riding techniques to prevent motorcycle collisions or at the very least inform the rider how to act in such dangerous situations.

There is nothing wrong with a little wind in your hair, as long as one remembers to enjoy motorcycles the safe way. And this International Ride to Work Day, it is especially important to remember that safety comes first when enjoying the celebration of motorcycles.


Motorcyclists face unique safety risks as they are sharing the road with other, much larger vehicles. Special training classes can teach new skills or refresh old techniques, in order to help riders prevent themselves from getting into motorcycle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle car crash, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Memorial Day Weekend Traffic Fatalities

Memorial Day celebrates the many men and women who have risked their lives to defend our country, but it also kicks off Summer travels. Whether by plane, train, boat or car, most Americans use this long weekend for a short getaway. With so many people leaving on vacation however, congestion and accidents are expected to follow. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 439 people will be killed and 50,500 will be seriously injured, over this three day weekend, due to Memorial Day motor vehicle crashes. 

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Memorial Day Car Crash Statistics

This year, it is expected that nearly 39.3 million Americans will go on vacation for Memorial Day. 88.1% of those traveling are planning to do so by driving, despite gas prices being increased by 11 cents since Memorial Day 2016. Additional statistics estimate that out of the over 50,000 car accidents and injuries incurred on this holiday every year, that 44% of these car crashes involve alcohol. In Michigan alone, out of all of the fatal car accidents that took place over Memorial Day weekend in 2015, approximately 33% of these motor vehicle accidents included a pedestrian or driver with alcohol in their system, according to Michigan State Police (MSP) reports.

Safe Driving Recourse

Although there are’t any plans to set up drunk driving checkpoints over the holiday weekend due to the questionable legality in Michigan, the MSP will still be on the road identifying drunk drivers and distracted drivers. MSP will also be involved with the Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts operation (C.A.R.E.), which is an international traffic safety initiative to keep the roadways safe during the Memorial Day weekend. Other programs that MSP will be participating in are the nationwide “Click it or Ticket” kickoff geared toward making sure that both children and adults are properly wearing and using their seat-belts. If a Michigan police officer discovers a driver not wearing a seat-belt between May 23 to June 5, they can expect to receive a base fine of approximately $65. 

Memorial Day Weekend Travel Safety Tips

Unfortunately, tickets and fines don't deter everyone into following the rules of the road. Therefore, even if you are adhering to the law, that doesn't mean that every other driver on the road will. So, for those who are planning on traveling by car, truck, bus, or RV this weekend, here are a few traffic safety tips provided by CNN News:

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  • Drive shorter distances. It is reasonably deduced that with the large number of drivers on the road who are traveling long distances, accidents can be reduced if other drivers drive shorter distances.  

  • Take the highway. On highways everyone is heading in the same direction and there are no turn lanes, so, traffic doesn't often stop - unless a car crash or traffic jam occurs. This helps make for a quicker journey than taking local roads which usually eat up time with red lights, turn lanes, and four way traffic.

  • Congestion could save a life. As odd as it sounds, taking the road less traveled could lead to speeding and accidents. In congested traffic, the only way to go is slow, which can further prevent accidents from happening or at least lessen the damage caused by any potential impact.

  • Leave early. Based on Waze traffic congestion studies, it is best to avoid the roads on Thursday between 3 to 5 P.M., on Friday from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M., and on Monday from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

  • Don’t drive under the influence. Is there really much more that needs to be said? Driving under the influence can affect reaction time, cognitive functions, and motor skills, all of which can lead to drunk driving car accidents.

  • Drowsy driving is a no-go. When experiencing constant blinking, swerving, or trouble recalling the last few miles, take it as a sign to pull over and rest or to switch drivers if possible. Falling asleep behind the wheel can lead to motor vehicle accidents and irreparable injuries. 

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It's also a general rule when driving any time that drivers should stay focused at all times on the road. That means no distractions from pets, phones, or even passengers. In this day and age, it's especially important to refrain from trying to text, post, tweet, record a video, or do anything else that can potentially cause attention to move away from the road. As many studies show, there are enough accidents caused around Memorial Day every year that could be avoided if drivers just take their time, drive responsibly, and abide by traffic laws.

Unofficial start of Summer aside, Memorial Day should be respected and we should do our best to remember those who died to serve our country. Thank you to those who laid down their lives in service, to those who have served, and to those who are serving. 


It is important for Michigan drivers to be aware that with the Summer travel season upon us, that the roads will quickly fill up with people wanting to take advantage of the warm weather. This surplus of out of town drivers on the road will cause travel times to be extended and thereby make crash statistics increase. Long weekends like Memorial Day, may even bring out an influx of road rage accidents and aggressive driving accidents. If you or a loved one becomes involved in a car accident over Memorial Day weekend, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We provide free consultations to victims of motor vehicle accidents. Speak to a Michigan car crash lawyer today at 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Detroit Earns Poor Traffic Congestion Ranking

Detroit, Michigan was recently ranked 128th in the top 200 cities with the worst traffic congestion in the world, and 24th nationally. The ranking was compiled by INRIX, a global company that provides mobile applications and internet services. They conducted their study on more than 1,000 cities from around the world and found that Detroit motorist spend an average of 33 hours in traffic. 

According to the report, “Based on the findings, the U.S. ranked as the first most congested developed country in the world, with drivers spending an average of 42 hours a year in traffic during peak hours...For the first time, the INRIX Traffic Scorecard also includes the direct and indirect costs of congestion to all U.S. drivers, which amounted to nearly $300 billion in 2016, an average of $1,400 per driver."

Traffic Jam

Michigan Cities' Rankings

MLive says that INRIX's report that drivers in Detroit were found to spend 6% of their driving time in traffic compared to the average 104 hours motorists spent in traffic in 2016. However, other major cities in Michigan such as Ann Arbor, Saginaw, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Kalamazoo were also included in the study. Ann Arbor came close on Detroit’s heels finishing at number 257 worldwide and 40 in the US. Overall. INRIX found that Ann Arbor drivers spent 24.4 hours on average in congestion versus the 13 hours motorists in Grand Rapids would most likely spend behind the wheel of their vehicle. Lansing drivers spent 9.5 hours on average in traffic, followed by Flint with 8.9 hours, Saginaw at 3 hours, and Kalamazoo clocking in at 2 hours.  

How to Avoid Traffic Congestion

With traffic congestion becoming a growing problem on Michigan roadways, MLive offers a few tips that drivers could follow to make their commute a more enjoyable one.  

  • Plan Your Commute. Gauge how much time your traffic route takes during rush hour. Drivers can simply plug in the address of their destination on Google Maps or another mapping service to discover alternative routes and their estimated times of arrival. Also, taking the time to decide on clothing attire for the next day, making lunches beforehand, packing, etc. can all aide in making sure motorists leave the house without rushing and becoming flustered. 
  • Be Productive - Safely. During time in congestion when traffic is at a complete stop or when at a red light, make that appointment that has been postponed, learn a new language, send a quick email or text or even read up on some of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog posts that were missed. However, when traffic is moving, even if it's at a snail's pace, all eyes and attention must be on the road. 
  • Choose Your Station Wisely. If the other two options fail at making time move faster, try putting on a favorite podcast, comedy station, or playing a soothing playlist to calm any agitated nerves. 

Road Rage and Car Crashes 

Incidents of road rage can occur during times of rush hour. People are irritated and ready to get home but are prevented from doing so because so many others are trying to do the same thing at the exact same time. Even thinking about tailgating, cutting people off, incessant honking, weaving in and out of traffic, lane blocking, and all of the irritating aspects of traffic congestion are enough to make a saint angry. These irritating aspects are also actions that may cause dangerous and injurious car accidents. So, motorists should keep in mind that all drivers are in the same boat, that sharing the road is proper etiquette, and that adhering to traffic laws will assist with making roadways safe and easy for everyone to use.  Hopefully using the tips listed above can also help with safely commuting during rush hour.


Detroit is called the Motor City for a reason. Cars are made here, driven here, and are an essential piece to the culture. With so many motorists on the road, possible agitations can arise and lead to accidents caused by aggressive driving. If you or someone you know have been a victim of road rage, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM today. Our offers free consultations to help victims of car accidents figure out the next step in their case.