September 30, 2010

NTSB Says 2009 Tractor-Trailer Crash that Killed 10 Caused by Trucker Fatigue

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the 76-year-old trucker that drove his rig into a traffic jam on an Oklahoma highway last year killing 10 people was suffering from acute fatigue. In its report that it released this week, the NTSB says that catastrophic truck crash could have been prevented if only government regulators and the trucking industry had followed certain safety recommendations.

The trucker, Donald L. Creed, suffered from sleep apnea and likely had just five hours sleep before starting his shift at around 3am on June 26, 2009. He also had just gotten back from vacation and was readjusting to having to be up so early.

Creed had been on the road about 10 hours and was driving at a speed of almost 70 mph when he crashed his 40,000-pound big rig into a Land Rover and then drove over other cars. No evidence indicates that he attempted to stop his semi-truck or avoid the lineup of cars.

The elderly trucker later pleaded guilty to 10 counts of negligent homicide and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 10 years’ probation. Prosecutors said trucker inattention was a factor in the deadly truck crash.

Among the recommendations that the NTSB says regulators and the trucking industry have disregarded:

• Installation of warning systems that offer aural and visual alerts when a truck is in danger of crashing with another auto. The equipment, which costs around $1,000 to $2,000, could prevent about 96 deaths and 4,700 truck crashes a year.

• Safety recommendations that are related to dealing with truck driver fatigue, which is a cause of about 31% of heavy truck crashes.

The NTSB noted that although Creed wasn’t speeding—he was traveling under the 75 mph limit—it is important to note that a heavy truck going at such a high speed can have a devastating impact on smaller vehicles.

Contact our Chicago truck crash law firm to discuss your legal options.

NTSB Says Driver Fatigue at the Root of Fatal Oklahoma Truck Wreck, Trucking Info, September 29, 2010

NTSB cites fatigue in Okla. crash that killed 10, Google/AP, September 29, 2010

9 dead as truck slams cars in Oklahoma, MSNBC, June 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Prevalence of Sleep Apnea Among Commercial Truck Drivers,


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September 22, 2010

FMCSA Posts Formal Ban on Texting While Driving for Truckers and Bus Operators

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has posted a formal rule that bars truckers and bus drivers from texting while operating their vehicles. Carriers are also not allowed to mandate or allow their drivers to text. The rule becomes effective 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. If a driver is caught breaking the rule, penalty for conviction can be $11,000 for the carrier and $2,750 for the driver, who also can be disqualified.

Texting, per the FMCSA definition, does not include reading, choosing, or inputting a phone number, entering voicemail retrieval codes to receive or initiate a call, inputting, choosing, or reading information on a global positioning or navigation system, or using dispatch devices, fleet management system, smart phone, music player, citizens ban radio, or other devices that can perform numerous functions for purposes that are not prohibited.

Texting while driving is considered a dangerous habit for all motorists. Truck drivers are especially at high risk of getting involved in a truck crash when texting. At the second annual distracted driving summit in Washington DC this week, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced new rulemaking that would ban truckers carrying hazardous materials from texting or using a cell phone. The DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has jurisdiction over all hazmat haulers.

Our Chicago truck accident lawyers and your Chicago cell phone accident attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients that have been the victims of distracted driving accidents obtain their financial recovery. Contact us in Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County, Illinois

Distracted driving continues to claim lives in Illinois and the rest of the US. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2009, 5,474 traffic deaths and 448,000 injuries occurred because someone was driving while distracted. Mr. LaHood, however, cautions that the actual figures are likely higher but that distracted driving isn’t always cited in reports as a cause of truck crashes, car accidents, bus collisions, motorcycle crashes, or pedestrian accidents.

FMCSA Posts Ban on Texting While Driving, TruckingInfo, September 22, 2010

DOT makes hazmat trucks no phone zones, Todays Trucking, September 22, 2010

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces 2009 Distracted Driving Fatality and Injury Numbers Prior to National Distracted Driving Summit, NHTSA, September 20, 2010

Related Web Resources:

US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Federal Register

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August 31, 2010

FMCSA Orders Trucking Company Involved in Fatal Tractor-Trailer Crash That Killed 11 People to Cease Operations

According to, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered trucking company Hester off the road. The order was reportedly issued in June. Hester was involved in a deadly semi-truck collision on I-65 in Kentucky last March that claimed 11 lives.

Per a state police report trucker Kenneth Laymon may have been taking on a cell phone and speeding when he drove his 1999 Freightliner truck that was pulling a 53-foot semitrailer over a 60-foot wide grass median, struck a four-cable guardrail barrier, hit a 15-passenger van, drove over other travel lanes and struck a stone wall. His tractor-trailer would go on to burst into flames. Killed in the tractor-trailer accident were Laymon and 10 of the people riding in the van, most of them Mennonites from the same family.

Investigators have been trying to figure out whether Laymon went on any rest breaks from the time that he departed Lansing, Michigan for Cullman, Alabama. The catastrophic tractor-trailer collision occurred during the 13th hour and approximately 243rd of a 690-mile route that Laymon was driving. Unfortunately, the trucker’s log book was destroyed in the blaze and the truck did not have an electronic board recorder.

Following the catastrophic truck crash, the FMCSA audited Hester Inc. The federal agency ordered the trucking company to cease operations after failing to remedy “critical violations.” The FMCSA says that Hester used truckers before getting back their pre-employment drug tests results, let drivers operate their vehicle beyond the 11-hour federal limit for truckers, and allowed a truck driver who was suspended following a roadside inspection to continue driving. The trucking company cannot reopen its doors for business until the FMCSA deems that it is “fit” to do so and it gets back its registration.

Our Chicago tractor-trailer accident lawyers represent truck crash victims and their families in Cook County, Will County, Lake County, and DuPage County, Illinois.

Trucking firm ordered to halt operations after Munfordville accident that killed 11, Courier-Journal, September 1, 2010

FMCSA Orders Alabama Carrier Off the Road and Following Fatal Accident TruckingInfo, September 7, 2010

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August 18, 2010

77-Year-Old Trucker Sued for Deaths in 2009 Truck Accident that Killed 10 Pleads Guilty to Negligent Homicide

Donald L. Creed, a 77-year-old truck driver, has pleaded guilty to 10 misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide for accidentally killing 10 people during a June 2009 tractor-trailer crash. He has been sentenced to one year probation for each count and must spend 30 days in jail. He also will no longer be allowed to have a commercial driver’s license and must use an electronic home monitoring system during the first year of probation. Meantime, the families of the victims are suing Creed for wrongful death.

According to police, on June 26, 2009 on I-44, Creed slammed his semi-trailer, which he was driving for Associated Wholesale Grocers, into a number of motor vehicles that were stopped for another traffic. Rescuers spent hours trying to free the victims from the mangled wreckage.

Killed in the semi-truck crash were 63-year-old Earlene Hooks, 69-year-old Oral Hooks, 42-year-old Antonio Hooks, 41-year-old Dione Hooks, Ernestia Reyes, her husband 39-year-old Ricardo Reyes, 35-year-old Shelby Hayes, her husband, 38-year-old Randall Hayes, their 7-year-old son Ethan Hayes, and her 55-year-old mother Cynthia Olson. The Reyes’ 12-year-old daughter Andrea suffered injuries.

Investigators have said that there is no evidence to indicate that the trucker tired to avoid striking the vehicles or even attempted to step on the brakes. Highway police have said that driver inattention on Creed’s part caused the semi-truck crash.

Chicago Truck Accident Victims
Losing even one family member in any kind of Chicago, Illinois truck accident is devastating. To lose more than one loved one is unimaginably life shattering. Unfortunately, trucker negligence, inexperience, inattention, carelessness, and recklessness continue to claim lives.

Truck driver guilty in crash that killed 10, Associated Press/Kansas City, August 2, 2010

Truck Driver Pleads Guilty to 10 Misdemeanor Counts for Deadly Turnpike Crash,, August 2, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, Cyber Drive Illinois

Distracted Driving, NHTSA

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