April 27, 2011

Mother and Daughter Killed in Illinois Semi-Truck Crash

Lorraine McNeil, 69, and her daughter Kathleen Wilcox, 45, died last week in an Illinois semi-trailer crash on Interstate 80. The two women, who are both from Ottawa, were pronounced dead at the truck accident site. The accident took place at the County Highway 15 and Morris Road intersection a mile south of Marseilles.

According to the Morris Daily Herald, while there are rumble strips and stop signs at the intersection on Morris Road, there are no stop signs on CH 15. Investigators are trying to figure out whether traffic control devices were a factor in the deadly crash. Marseilles Police Chief Jim Hovious calls the intersection where the semi-trailer accident happened a dangerous one where several traffic crash deaths had already occurred.

Police are trying to determine exactly what happened.

Illinois Truck Accidents
If the truck driver did anything that contributed to causing the collision, the women’s family may be able to file an Illinois truck crash claim against the trucker, the trucking company, and other parties involved with the truck, such as the owner of the truck, or the company that is using/leasing the truck. A lot of it will depend on who/what caused the collision.

Time and again, our Chicago tractor-trailer accident lawyers have seen the devastating injuries that can come about from this type of crash and the impact it has on surviving loved ones. We are not afraid to go up against large trucking companies to make sure that you obtain all of the personal injury or wrongful death recovery that you are owed.

Mother, daughter die in Wednesday crash, Morris Daily Herald, April 21, 2011

Two Ottawa women die following crash, MyWebTimes, April 21, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Truck Safety Coalition

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March 31, 2011

Did a Weak Rear Guard Play a Role in Your Loved One’s Chicago Tractor-Trailer Crash Death?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is reporting that the rear guards used on big rigs may not be strong enough to prevent a smaller vehicle from rolling under the large truck during a traffic crash. This is disturbing news, seeing as underride truck crashes cause serious injuries and deaths each year. Our Chicago semi-truck accident law firm is all too familiar with the devastating injuries that can result when one has been involved in this type of rear-end truck collision.

The IIHS says that its own vehicle testing showed that current rear guards could fail even when the truck crash is one occurring at a low speed. The Institute is hoping to remedy this problem and has petitioned the government to mandate stronger underrides that can stay in place during a rear-end truck accident. The IIHS also wants this sturdier protection to become a requirement for more trailers and big rigs.

Seeing as, per the IIHS’s analysis of Large Truck Crash Causation Study truck crash cases, underride was a common result in the 115 truck crashes involving a passenger auto hitting a semi-trailer or large truck, the sooner that tougher rear guards are mandated, the better. Also, out of 28 incidents involving someone in a passenger vehicle dying, serious underride damage was a factor in 23 of these accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that about 423 people are killed annually in accidents involving passenger vehicles rear-ending a large truck. Over 5,000 other passenger vehicle occupants end up injured.

If you were injured in any type of large truck crash, do not hesitate to contact our Chicago 18-wheeler truck accident law firm right away. There may be parties who should be held liable for your injuries. Possible liable parties could include the truck driver, the driver of the passenger vehicle that you were a passenger in, a truck manufacturer, or the trucking company.

Underride guards on big rigs often fail in crashes; Institute petitions government for new standard, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, March 1, 2011

Read the IIHS's petition (PDF)

Related Web Resources:

Large Truck Causation Study, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Underride Network

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January 31, 2011

FMCSA Proposes Installing Monitoring Trucker’s Hours of Service with Electronic Onboard Recorders

The FMCSA is proposing a new regulation that would make it mandatory for interstate truck and bus companies to equip all their vehicles with electronic onboard recorders so that their drivers’ hours of service are monitored. As we’ve reported in past blogs, the hours-of-service rule is designed to restrict how many hours in a row truckers can drive and how much rest time and time off they must take in between shifts so that they don’t become too exhausted or tired that driving safely becomes a challenge. Unfortunately, there are still some truck drivers who attempt to get the most mileage possible out of their work days even if it means driving when they are drowsy or distracted or while breaking the hours-of-service regulations.

It is important that commercial truck drivers not drive on the road for too long so that they remain alert and wide awake. Our Chicago truck accident law firm has represented many people whose lives have changed in an instant because a trucker dozed off for a few seconds or was so tired that he or she didn’t step on the brakes in time to avoid striking a pedestrian or colliding with another vehicle.

If you were injured in a Chicago truck crash, an experienced injury attorney can help you figure out whether the other driver violated any FMCSA rules. Even if the trucker was in compliance with federal regulations, if he/she was drowsy driving, distracted driving, or engaging in any other type of negligent driving, you could be entitled to Chicago injury recovery from the truck driver and his or her employer.

Trucking companies know how to fight liability claims, which is why it is a good idea to have someone on your side that knows how to fight for you.

U.S. Proposes EOBRs for All Interstate Trucks, Transport Topics, January 31, 2011

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Proposes Changes to Hours-of-Service Regulations, Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers Blog, January 11, 2011

Related Web Resource:

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January 21, 2011

Recent Chicago Semi-Truck Accidents Claim Two Lives

A person was killed early yesterday in a West Chicago truck crash. According to police, the victim’s vehicle rear-ended the semi-truck’s trailer at Powis Road close to Harvester Road. The Illinois State Police and the DuPage County Accident Reconstruction Task Force are trying to determine what happened.

Also this week, police are searching for a semi-truck in connection with a Chicago hit-and run traffic crash that claimed the life of bicyclist. The rider, 65-year-old Robert Felice, was found lying on West Pershing Road. The large truck is described as having a red cab and a camper. Felice was pronounced dead at University of Illinois Medical Center.

It is important that you start exploring your legal options for Illinois personal injury or wrongful death as soon as possible. Obtaining your injury recovery can allow you to hold the negligent party liable and give you the resources you need to cover damages and costs incurred from your Illinois large truck accident. Proving liability in any kind of collision can be challenging—it can be especially tough when you are dealing with a trucking company that has a team in place, as well as the resources, to combat lawsuits against it. Truck log books and maintenance records will need to be examined. It is also important to determine whether hours-of-service rules or other Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration regulations and any state regulations have been violated.

Recently, the family of Raymond VanPelt filed their Illinois semi-tractor crash over the Aurora man’s wrongful death. Van Pelt, 53, died at the corporate headquarters parking lot in what police think may have been a backover accident involving a semi-tractor trying to back-up to a semi-trailer. The truck driver did not see VanPelt.

The Illinois tractor-trailer crash lawsuit accuses the truck driver of negligent driving, including failing to slow down his speed, not keeping a proper lookout, and neglecting to give audible warning. The plaintiffs, who are also suing the truck company that employed the trucker, are also claiming that the large truck’s brakes were inadequate.

Fatal Vehicular Accident in West Chicago, Trib Local, January 19, 2011

Bicyclist killed in South Side hit-and-run crash identified, Chicago Sun-TImes, January 20, 2011

Related Web Resource:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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January 11, 2011

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Proposes Changes to Hours-of-Service Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently revealed its proposed rulemaking to the hours-of-service regulations. The proposal lowers the on-duty time to 13 hours while extending the workday to 14 hours and allowing for a one-hour off duty break in between.

The 34-hour restart, which lets drivers resume their 60- to 70- hour shifts after taking 34 consecutive hours off, remains the same except for two restrictions: The restart could only occur once over a seven-day period and would include two overnight rest periods. Other provisions involve the option of twice a week allowing a driver’s shift to last 16 hours to allow for the loading and unloading of cargo and letting drivers count time spent in their parked trucks toward off-duty time.

The FMCSA is now inviting comments on its proposal, which includes the lowering of a trucker’s daily drive time from 11 hours to 10 hours. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood emphasized the government’s commitment to an hours-of-service rule that only allows for truck drivers who are alert, rested, and able to focus on their job.

Drowsy driving is considered one of the most common causes of large truck crashes. The long, odd hours on nondescript freeways contribute to causing a driver to become sleepy or unable to concentrate while behind the steering wheel. Meantime, the American Trucking Associations is speaking out against the FMCSA’s proposal. The ATA says that the proposal places “unnecessary restrictions” on professional truckers, while “substantially reducing” productivity. ATA President and CEO Bill Graves says the proposed changes would be very costly for the trucking industry and the economy. The FMCSA has until July 26, 2011 to publish its final HOS rule.

Chicago Truck Accidents
Chicago truck crashes that occur because the driver was tired, sleepy, or distracted could have likely been prevented. Following the federal government’s safety rules is one way to keep these types of Illinois truck collisions, which often lead to such catastrophic consequences, from happening. Contact our Chicago truck collision law firm today.

FMCSA Issues Proposed Rule on Hours-of-Service Requirements for Commercial Truck Drivers, FMCA, December 23, 2010

FMCSA unveils proposed HOS regs, Landlinemag, December 23, 2010
Truckers slam FMCSA driver hours proposal, DC Velocity, December 28, 2010

Hours-of-Service (HOS) Proposed Rulemaking (December 2010), FMCSA

Truck Accidents, Justia

Drowsy Driving & Fatigue

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December 22, 2010

Preventing Chicago Truck Accidents: FMCSA Launches Compliance Safety Accountability Program to Target High Risk Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is launching the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program. In an effort to improve road safety, and decrease the number of bus and truck collisions, bus and truck companies considered to be “high risk” will be targeted.

CSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) will analyze all safety-based violations and crash and inspections data to determine the road performance of a commercial motor carrier. SMS employs BASICs, which includes seven safety improvement categories, to examine a carrier’s crash risk and on-road performance. The categories include:

• Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service)
• Unsafe Driving
• Controlled Substances/Alcohol
• Driver Fitness
• Cargo-Related: Unsafe handling of hazardous materials or spilled, dropped, or shifting cargo.
• Crash Indicator: Refers to crash history, including severity and frequency
• Vehicle Maintenance

The old federal measurement system only examined four broad categories.

FMCSA believes that under this new program, officials will be more easily able to determine which carriers exhibit high-risk behavior and provide them with this data so that they can change unsafe practices ssooner rather than later. Interventions might include targeted roadside inspection, early warning letters, and concentrated compliance reviews. When a carrier does not take the proper corrective steps, FMCSA will impose civil penalties.

The CSA program will also attempt to give the public safety data in a format that is more user-friendly. The program has been tested in nine US states.

Our Chicago truck crash law firm welcomes the federal government's efforts to improve commercial truck and bus safety. We know how upsetting it can be to lose someone in an Illinois tractor-trailer crash that could have been avoided were it not for the carelessness or negligence of another party.

U.S. Safety Plan Targets High Risk Truckers, Claims Journal, December 15, 2010

Compliance, Safety, Accountability, FMCSA

Related Web Resource:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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November 16, 2010

$6.5 Million Illinois Tractor-Trailer Accident Settlement Goes to Family of Woman Killed on Halloween 2008

The family of East Dubuque resident Tabitha Carroll has been awarded a $6.5 million Illinois semi-truck accident settlement. Carroll, 32, died on Route 47 in Huntley, Illinois on October 31, 2008.

Carroll, her husband Randolph, and son Gabriel, 3, were headed to Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch that Halloween day when a tractor-trailer rear-ended the pickup truck they were riding. According to a judge, trucker Jeffrey Repec, a Spring Grove man, was speeding at the time. The impact of the truck crash pushed the Carroll family’s car into a stopped IDOT truck.

While Carroll died at the Illinois tractor-trailer crash site, Randolph sustained a number of personal injuries, including facial fractures, spinal injuries, and respiratory failure. Gabriel sustained lacerations, two broken legs, and head injuries.

According to the family’s truck collision lawsuit, not only was Repec driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, as well as speeding, but also he did not keep a proper lookout. Police had determined that Rebec was high on marijuana when the Illinois tractor-trailer crash happened. The trucker eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence. He is serving 45 months at a correctional facility.

Meantime, the tractor-trailer’s owner, Geils Farms, is accused of violating the law by failing to conduct random drug tests on truckers, neglecting to perform employee background checks and not getting a copy of each truck driver’s driving record. Also, not only was the truck that struck the Carrolls’ vehicle overloaded, but five of its breaks were out of adjustment, the rear left turn signal could not be operated, and a number of the vehicle’s brake pads had grease or oil contaminating them, which prevented safe braking and stopping.

The Illinois truck accident settlement includes $4.7 million for Carroll’s wrongful death, $300,000 for Gabriel’s personal injuries, and $1.5 million for Randolph’s injuries to a minor.

Huntley crash victims are awarded $6.5 million, The Courier-News, October 31, 2010

Halloween Car Crash Results in $6.5 million settlement in wrongful death lawsuit, Lawyers and Settlements, November 4, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Trucking Accidents Overview, Justia

Michigan Center for Truck Safety

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Chicago Injury Attorney Blog

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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 10, 2010

Chicago Tanker Truck Roller Accident Prevention: NTSB Considers Ways to Decrease Number of Deadly Collisions

The National Transportation Safety Board is considering ways to decrease the number of tanker truck rollover accidents. The NTSB held a hearing last week to determine whether requiring that tanker trucks be equipped with stability control technology could help decrease their high rollover risk.

Cargo tankers are at risk of rolling over because they are made with high gravity centers. 31% of fatal commercial truck rollovers involve tanker trucks. Considering that cargo tank trucks often transport hazardous substances, rollover accidents can be especially dangerous not just for the vehicle occupants involved but also for those who happen to be in the area around the crash site.

It was just last October that an Indianapolis tanker truck rollover collision wrecked a bridge column, blew a giant fireball into the air, set fire to highway billboard, and injured four people. The truck was transporting liquefied petroleum. Our Chicago tanker truck lawyers believe that when possible, it is important that preventive measures be taken to decrease the number of catastrophic truck crashes.

Currently, federal law doesn’t require that trucks be constructed with a low gravity center. This, despite the fact that, according to engineer Douglas Pape (who spoke at the NTSB hearing), doing so by even 3% could decrease the chance of a rollover crash happening by 12%.

Requiring that tanker trucks carry electronic stability systems would allow its sensors to detect when a truck’s weight had shifted. The onboard computer’s system could then automatically step on the breaks until the vehicle was able to regain its balance.

Cause of tanker blast that shut I-465 studied, IndyStar, August 5, 2010

NTSB probes rollovers by hazmat tanker trucks, Google/AP, August 3, 2010

NHTSA nearing truck rollover prevention rule, Today's Trucking.com, August 4, 2010

Continue reading "Chicago Tanker Truck Roller Accident Prevention: NTSB Considers Ways to Decrease Number of Deadly Collisions" »

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June 11, 2010

With US Trucking Industry Looking to Hire 400,000 Truckers by Close of 2011, Chicago Truck Accident Risks Can Be Kept Low If Employers Hire Good Truckers

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals says that the US trucking industry will have to add 400,000 more truck drivers by the end of 2011—200,000 by the end of this year, and the remaining 200,000 the following year.

According to CNN.com, several factors will feed into this need for additional drivers, including the need to replace truckers approaching retirement age, industry growth, and tougher safety regulations to weed out the bad drivers and replace drivers who were laid-off when the economy fell. Since 2008, the industry has lost nearly 150,000 driving jobs. While during the recession trucking companies had a wider pool of applicants to choose from, that surplus of candidates has gotten smaller since the economy started to get better.

Preventing Chicago, Illinois Truck Accidents
Driving a commercial truck is unlike driving a regular motor vehicle and it is important that a truck driver be properly trained, abide by the federal and state safety regulations, doesn’t suffer from undiagnosed and/or untreated sleeping disorders, has a safe driving record, is a good driver, and is capable of safely driving a large truck that is loaded with thousands of pounds heavy cargo. Trucker inexperience is a common cause of catastrophic Chicago truck crashes, which are a tragedy not just for the victims, but also for the truck driver who never intended to be reckless or careless but lacked the experience and training to avoid causing a traffic crash.

Wanted: 400,000 truck drivers, CNN Money, June 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Council of Supply Chain Management Professional

Rules and Regulations, FMCSA

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May 29, 2010

Chicago is Site of Two Leading Truck Bottlenecks in the US

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 3 of the 10 most congested truck corridors in the US are located in Chicago. Ranking number one on the list is the Circle Interchange, which is the downtown junction located between Eisenhower Expressway and the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways. The average speed in this junction is 30 mp but traffic can slow to as low as about 23 mph during rush hour.

The Kennedy Expressway junction with the Edens Expressway, located on Chicago’s North Side, is number two on the list. Average rush hour speed is 23 mph, with an average non-rush hour speed of 39 mph even though the speed limit in this corridor is 55 mph.

Dan Ryan Expressway where it joins up with the Bishop Ford Freeway takes the number 9 spot. Average speed clocked in is about 50 mph during non-rush hours, 47 mph overall all, and 38 mph during busy travel periods.

The I-290 at Interstate Highway 355 in Chicago’s western suburbs is number 67 on the list, while Interstate Highway 80/94, in the Chicago-Northwest Indiana corridor, is listed as the 85th most congested truck bottleneck in the US.

This information, provided by the Federal Highway Administration and American Transportation Research Institute, will hopefully help trucking companies do a better job of figuring out their delivery routes and schedules so that they can avoid having to go through the busiest corridors during their peak hours. However, not only are truck drivers responsible for getting their cargo to its destination in a timely manner but also, he/she must drive to the current driving conditions to avoid causing a Chicago truck accident, which can occur if a large truck follows too closely behind the vehicle in front of it, fails to slow down when traffic starts to back up, or attempts to talk on the cell phone or text while driving.

Unfortunately, there are truck drivers who fail to obey traffic laws or go with the flow of traffic. When this happens, pedestrians and the occupants of other vehicles are the ones that suffer the most.

Chicago has top 2 truck bottlenecks in nation, study finds, Chicago Tribune, May 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Federal Highway Administration

American Transportation Research Institute

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May 14, 2010

FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program Will Hopefully Decrease the Number of Chicago Truck Accidents

This week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched its Pre-Employment Screening Program. The PSP lets commercial motor carrier companies electronically access driver accident and inspection records when screening trucker and bus driver candidates.

Up to five years of driver crash data and three years of inspection information will be made available to employers. This will give employees key details for assessing a candidate’s safety risks as a commercial driver.

FMCSA's Motor Carrier Management Information System will populate PSP on a monthly basis. MCMIS data will include state-reported accident findings, enforcement, inspection and compliance review results, and motor carrier census information. Drivers will be given a chance to verify the information made available through PSP, and their records will stay protected under federal privacy laws.

US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the launch of PSP sends a message to commercial drivers and carriers that the government mean business when it comes to ensuring that the safest drivers are the ones operating buses and large trucks on US roads. Hopefully the new program will help reduce the number of Chicago truck accidents and bus crashes that occur because of commercial driver negligence.

If a trucking company or bus company failed to keep a driver with a dangerous driving record or one with serious health issues that could impair his/her driving abilities off the road, then serious injuries and deaths can result.

FMCSA Launches Pre-Employment Screening Program, US DOT, FMCSA, May 11, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Pre-Employment Screening Program, USDOT

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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January 11, 2010

Aurora Man Sustains Facial Injuries When Ice From Semi-Truck Falls through His Car Windshield

Peter Morano underwent facial surgery last week for injuries he sustained when a sheet of ice fell from a semi-truck crashed through his vehicle’s windshield. The Aurora injury accident happened between Illinois Route 59 and Eola Road last Monday morning. The ice came off the commercial vehicle, which was covered with a foot-and-a-half of ice and snow, as it drove under a viaduct.

Morano compares what happened to an “explosion,” with “blood and glass everywhere.” He says that as he stopped his vehicle, other motorists rushed from their cars with rags to help stop the bleeding from his wounds. According to the Chicago Tribune, the truck driver kept on driving.

Doctors were concerned that the violent impact may have given Morano a traumatic brain injury, but tests results fortunately show otherwise. However, his nose, which was broken and smashed in a number of places, had to be reconstructed. He also shattered the orbital, which is under his left eye socket, and glass bits tore his iris and cut his eyelid. He may have permanent vision damage. Morano had to have stitches on his face.

His wife Debbie says other people she has talked to have experienced ice flying off motor vehicles. She doesn’t see why a commercial truck can’t be de-iced.

Currently, there is no law mandating that people remove the ice from their autos. However, snow on top of vehicles has proven to be dangerous on more than one occasion. In 2005, a woman died after a 9-foot ice piece came off an 18-wheeler truck, striking another truck’s windshield. The impact of the crash caused the second truck driver to lose control of the vehicle, which then collided into the woman’s auto.

Ice shatters man's face while driving in Aurora, Chicago Sun-Times, January 7, 2010

Aurora driver seriously hurt in ice accident, Chicago Tribune, January 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Driving in Snow and Ice, The Weather Channel

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November 6, 2009

Tragic Truck Crash May Have Been Caused by Vehicle Defects and Poor Maintenance

Last week, truck driver Kyle Wentland was charged with negligent homicide with a commercial vehicle and failure to keep right on a curve over his involvement in the tragic April 3 truck crash that claimed the life of a 33-year-old woman. Wentland, 26, faces up to six months in jail and an up to $2,000 fine. The family of the victim, Heather Gunther, is suing Wentland for her wrongful death. The truck accident victim died of massive traumatic injuries.

According to police, Wentland and Gunther were driving their vehicles at speeds of over 50 mph on a slick road when Wentland’s tractor-trailer crossed the center line to strike Gunther’s sport utility vehicle.

Wentland has told police that he inspected the large truck before getting on the road that morning, but a State DMV inspector says the truck’s brakes were out of adjustment—which is grounds for grounding a truck. Court documents indicate that one of the truck’s tires was unsafe. In addition to faulty breaks, there was oil leaking on a brake line. On investigator says the vehicle shouldn’t have even been on the road.

One witness who saw the tragic tractor-trailer crash says it appeared as if the truck had blown a tire and its brakes were locked up. Another motorist says that when Wentland’s truck hit Gunther’s sport utility vehicle, the SUV’s back end rose about six feet.

According to Federal and state transportation records, the tractor-trailer isn’t the only vehicle belonging to Sysco Food Services that has been cited as unsafe in the last two years. In August 2007, a Sysco truck with a broken steering component crossed a ditch. In January 2008, a Sysco truck received a citation for a broken tail light. In November 2008, a Sysco’s truck latch was found to be improperly secured. Last month, a truck and a trailer had low tire pressure.

Records show trucking company in fatal Winsted crash had other unsafe trucks, Republican American, November 4, 2009

Man charged with negligent homicide in fatal accident, The Register Citizen, October 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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October 28, 2009

Preventing Truck Accidents: NTSB Wants FMCSA to Put in Place Program to Treat Truckers with Sleep Apnea

The National Transportation Safety Board is suggesting to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that it put together a program to identify commercial truckers who are at high risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. The NTSB is recommending that the FMCSA withhold medical certification until a worker proves that he or she has been medically examined and either doesn’t have OSA or is getting treatment for the disorder.

Sleep apnea has been cited as a factor in a number of US trucking accidents. In one case, a tractor-trailer crashed into a police car, killing the officer in the vehicle, and then drove across a median, injuring another driver. The trucker was suffering from sleep apnea.

According to a recent study, 12 – 17% of drivers do suffer from “significant” obstructive sleep apnea. Some members of the trucking industry, however, dispute that there is a link between OSA and truck crashes.

Regardless, drowsy driving (whether the motorist is suffering from a sleeping disorder or didn’t get enough sleep or is just tired after a long day of work) is known to cause catastrophic truck collisions and other deadly motor vehicle accidents. If a person is suffering from sleep apnea, managing to stay awake while driving can be tough—especially when the driver is driving long distances for hours at a time. A trucker who is driving a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler truck, or another kind of large truck while his or her mind is foggy or who has fallen asleep is a danger to pedestrians and the occupants of other vehicles.

About 18 million people in the US suffer from OSA. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, because many investigators are not properly trained to identify the role sleepiness plays in causing a traffic crash, this contributing factor can get overlooked.

Getting behind the wheel of any motor vehicle when you are drunk, drowsy, or distracted is careless conduct. The negligent trucker, car driver, motorcyclist or bus driver can be held liable for Chicago injury or wrongful death.

Sleep apnea program should be law: US safety board, Today's Trucking, October 22, 2009

Study Says Number of Truck Accidents Might Go Down If Truckers Were Tested for Sleep Apnea, ChicagoTruckAccidentLawyerBlog, March 29, 2009

Sleep Apnea and Driving, American Sleep Apnea Association

Related Web Resources:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea

National Transportation Safety Board

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August 31, 2009

Will State's New Large Trucker Speed Limit Prevent or Contribute to Causing Illinois Truck Accidents?

On August 14, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill, the Uniform Speed Limit, into law that will increase the speed limit for large trucks on interstate highways from 55 mph to 65 mph. The new law goes into effect beginning January 1, 2010.

Many truckers in Illinois are reportedly greeting this new law with enthusiasm. Glen Bernis of Sisbro Trucking says that the new mph speed limit is a positive move forward from a safety standpoint because people riding in cars won’t get stuck behind semi-trucks now that both cars and large trucks will have to adhere to the same speed limit. George Billows, of the Illinois Trucking Association, echoed the sentiment that a single speed is safer than having split speed limits.

The new trucking speed limit will give truck drivers the opportunity to make more money. It will also allow them to drive more miles each day. Up until now, many truck drivers have avoided driving through Illinois or have opted to take the shortest route possible.

Exempt from this new law are Cook County and the five collar counties, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Lake County, and McHenry County.

While some parties are happy about the new speed limit, highway safety advocates are concerned about whether more injuries and deaths will result now that large trucks are legally allowed to go at a faster speed. The Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Transportation would have preferred keeping a separate, lower speed limit for trucks.

AAA says another 115 Illinois traffic deaths a year are likely to result because of the new speed limit. According to Beth Mosher, an AAA spokesperson, the faster the speed of the truck, the longer it takes for the vehicle to stop. This increases the chances of an Illinois truck accident occurring.

If you were injured in a Chicago truck accident and you believe that the driver of the semi-truck, garbage truck, 18-wheeler truck, tractor-trailer, or another large truck was negligent or careless, you should speak with a Chicago truck crash lawyer immediately.

Truckers look forward to speed limit rising to 65, Whig.com, August 21, 2009

Take notice: truckers will be hitting the gas, SouthtownStar, August 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Maximum Posted Speed Limits

House Bill 3956, Illinois General Assembly

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August 7, 2009

Will New Tractor-Trailer Brake Laws Decrease the Number of Chicago Truck Accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants tractor-trailer drivers to abide by tougher braking standards. Under the new rules, a tractor-trailer moving at 60mph will have to fully stop in 250 feet when braking rather than in 355 feet.

The NHTSA says the new regulation should save 227 lives and prevent 300 serious injuries every year. It will also hopefully reduce property damage by more than $169 million annually.

Any help from the government to decrease the number of Chicago truck accidents that happen is positive progress. Large trucks can cause catastrophic injuries during an Illinois truck crash, with brake failure and human error as two of the leading causes of trucker-related collisions.

While truckers have a large vehicle weighing thousands of pounds protecting them from the impact of colliding with a smaller vehicle, the occupants of the autos involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer are not as fortunate.

An experienced Chicago, Illinois truck accident law firm will know what questions to ask when proving liability in a truck crash. They should also have access to a team of experts, such as accident reconstruction experts and medical professionals that understand the extend of your injuries and how much time it will take and how much money it will cost for you to recover, that can help you obtain the maximum recovery possible for your trucking injuries.

Trucking companies are known for sending someone to the Chicago traffic crash site as soon as possible to try persuading you to settle before you even know what’s happened to you.

Tough New Braking Rules For Large Trucks Will Save Hundreds of Lives Annually, NHTSA, July 24, 2009

Trucking Accidents Caused by Brake and Tire Failure, NOLO

Related Web Resource:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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July 28, 2009

Truckers Who Text While Driving Increase Truck Accident Risk by 23 Times

According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, truck drivers who text message while driving increase their collision risk by 23 times. The institute’s findings are based on two studies involving seven large trucking fleets and 200 truck drivers who drove 55 long-haul trucks. One study took place in 2004. The second study occurred in 2007.

There were 197 near truck collisions (crashes that the truck driver managed to just narrowly avoid) and 21 truck crashes caused by a number of factors, including texting. Some 3,000 other near truck crashes that weren’t as difficult for truckers to avoid also occurred, as did approximately 1,200 unintended lane deviations.

Researchers compared what happened in dangerous situations to some 20,000 segments of videotape that were shot by each truck using five small cameras. The cameras confirmed that in 31 near crashes, the trucker was texting. There were also random incidents of videotape that showed truckers were texting but that software did not see these situations as dangerous.

Meantime, reaching for or using an electronic device or dialing a cell phone increased the chances of a driver becoming involved in a motor vehicle crash by six times. Findings indicate that just before a near crash or a traffic collision, passenger vehicle drivers and truckers had spent almost five seconds looking at their devices. If a motor vehicle is moving at 55 mph, this is enough time for a car or truck to travel the length of a football field.

The institute says that listening or talking to a cell phone lets drivers keep their eyes on the road, which means that using a cell phone for conversations doesn’t pose as much of a safety risk as texting does. The institute is recommending that all drivers be prohibited from texting while operating a truck, car, or bus, and all teen drivers who just have gotten their licenses should be banned from using cell phones while driving. It also notes that it is clear that keeping one’s eyes on the road improves safety on the road.

According to the study, using a headset when using a cell phone isn’t necessarily safer than using a hand-held phone because the driver will still likely have to answer the phone and dial, which can require the motorist to take both eyes off the road. Voice activated systems might be less dangerous if they are designed in such a way that a motorist won’t have to take his or eyes off the road to operate them.

Our Chicago truck accident law firm wants to know if you were injured in an Illinois motor vehicle crash because the truck driver was texting, talking on the cell phone, or involved in another form of distracted driving.

In Study, Texting Lifts Crash Risk by Large Margin, NY Times, July 27, 2009

Va. Tech Institute: Texting while driving much more dangerous than talking on cell phones, Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2009

Related Web Resource:

Read more about the findings (PDF)

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June 18, 2009

Chicago Truck Accident Law Firm: Trucking Group Reports Improvements in Truck Safety for 2008

According to Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, large truck safety in the US trucking industry improved in 2008. Included in the findings from the 2008 truck safety Roadcheck conducted by the CVSA:

• 95% of drivers tested during the CVSA’s three-day safety enforcement event passed the safety inspection—that’s 14.5% more than in 2007.
• Last year, 96.2% of drivers complied with hours-of-service rules—this figure is up from 95.1% in 2007.
• 97.6% of drivers were in compliance with regulations involving hazardous materials—up from 95.1% in 2007.
• 79.2% of vehicles passed roadside inspections—up from 78.5% in 2007.

Truckers and trucks that took part in the Roadcheck inspections were selected based on the participants’ past safety or inspection record or through the use of a computerized Inspection Selection System.

It is very important that truck drivers are in compliance with the safety, work, and rest regulations set up by the federal government for the trucking industry. A driver that is too tired or has not followed the proper safety precautions or has failed to properly inspect his vehicle places other motorists and pedestrians at risk of getting seriously hurt if his or her negligence results in a truck accident.

An experienced Chicago truck crash lawyer should be familiar not just with the different regulations that govern the trucking industry and its truck drivers but also with how to prove that the truck company, the truck owner, the truck driver, or any other parties were liable for causing your Illinois truck accident.

Truck safety improves in 2008, Trailer.BodyBuilders.com

Related Web Resources:
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

Public Citizen

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