Shannon Law Group July 2018


In 2016, for the very first time in the U.S., a self- driving car accident turned fatal when a Tesla Model S collided with a semi-trailer truck in Florida. At the time

Passed on April 28, 2017, the Illinois Autonomous Vehicle Act (HB2747) puts forth new laws specifically about self-driving vehicles traveling on Illinois roadways. Essentially, the act allows vehicles with automated driving systems to be legally driven on Illinois roads. The act defines an automated driving system (ADS) as hardware or software that is able to perform all tasks that a human driver can do on a continual basis. Therefore, the ADS itself will be considered the driver or operator in the eyes of the law. Moreover, these vehicles are not required to have a human behind the wheel, and any occupants in these vehicles do not need driver’s licenses. In an Illinois car accident, a self-driving car’s ADS will be at fault, because it is considered the driver in the eyes of Illinois law. Therefore, liability in a self-driving car accident will be determined under current product liability law or common law negligence principles in Illinois. For more information on Illinois car accident law, please download a free copy of our book, “Transportation Law, Rights, and Injuries: Charting Your Legal Course of Action,” from our website. You can also contact Shannon Law Group, P.C. by calling us at (312) 578-9501 or by filling out our online contact form at

of the crash, the Tesla had been switched to autopilot mode, which includes features like automatic emergency braking, collision warnings, lane holding, and active cruise control. Despite these safety features, the Tesla crashed into the semitractor-trailer at an intersection. The driver and sole occupant of the Tesla died in the crash.

Since 2016, two more fatal self-driving car accidents have occurred in the U.S.

In March of 2018, a pedestrian died after being struck by an Uber self-driving car in Arizona. That same month, a Californian man died after his Tesla Model X SUV crashed into a concrete highway lane divider while on autopilot. In response to these crashes, many people have wondered how the victims of self-driving car accidents and their families could obtain legal compensation. In other words, who should be held liable for injuries and/or fatalities resulting from a self-driving car accident? For residents of Illinois, the state government has answered this question with the Autonomous Vehicle Act of 2017.


Like most Americans, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Fourth of July this month. Most of all, I’ve been fixated on how, over 240 years ago, our Founding Fathers set the foundation for our rights to flourish. Growing up, I had a very limited understanding of what happened on July 4, 1776. I thought the whole story involved the Continental Congress signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, as it was depicted in that John Trumbull painting. Boy, was I wrong! So I took Joe’s advice and educated myself on the most important day in American history. Without further ado, here are four facts I never knew about the Fourth of July until now: 1. The Declaration of Independence was signed on August 2, 1776, not on July 4. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially signed until August 2 by most of the 56 delegates in the Continental Congress. The Congress only dated the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. 2. On July 9, 1776 General George Washington ordered the Declaration of Independence to be read in front of thousands of soldiers in New York. Before soldiers heard the Declaration

of Independence, they listened to a statement from Washington himself. He explained that Congress had “dissolved the connection” between “this country” and Great Britain and declared the “United Colonies of North America” to be “free and independent states.” 3. John Adams shaped and inspired future Fourth of July celebrations. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote that the future Independence Day celebrations will include parades, games, bells, bonfires, and “illuminations” — or fireworks. Just a year later in 1777, the people of Philadelphia threw a celebration similar to Adams’ vision. 4. Three presidents have died on the Fourth of July. On July 4, 1826, both former Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died — exactly 50 years after the United States was founded. James Monroe, our fifth president, died five years later in 1831.

Email me at with your favorite Fourth of July fact! I would love to hear your thoughts.

-Brittany Peterson


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