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 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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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 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, 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, 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

Continue reading "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" »

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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

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

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April 22, 2010

Lombard, Illinois Traffic Crash Involving Semi-Truck and Minivan Claims Woman’s Life

A 49-year-old woman has died after she was fatally injured in a DuPage County traffic crash involving an 18-wheeler truck and a minivan on Monday night. Pascula Hernandez-Gutierrez was pronounced dead on Tuesday morning.

According to authorities, at around 8:15 pm on Monday, a Jewel-Osco semi-truck collided with a minivan at a Lombard intersection. The driver of the van lost control and the vehicle rolled over, striking Hernandez-Gutierrez and a male pedestrian who were walking together on a sidewalk.

The pedestrians were pinned under the van and bystanders helped lift the vehicle off the two of them. The victims were transported to a Downers Grove hospital for treatment of their serious injuries. The minivan’s driver was treated at the same hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Chicago Truck Accidents

Proving liability in a traffic crash can be tough unless you have legal help. An experienced Chicago, Illinois truck crash law firm can determine whether you should pursue a claim against a trucking company and truck driver and/or if there are other parties that should be held liable.

Our DuPage County truck collision lawyers know how devastating it can be to live with catastrophic injuries or the loss of a loved one because another party was negligent, careless, or reckless. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to obtain Illinois motor vehicle crash compensation for injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, wrongful death, loss of benefits, property damage, funeral costs, cremation, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other damages.

Lombard IL 18-wheeler accident: Pedestrian pinned under van after collision, Justice News Flash, April 20, 2010

Woman struck by minivan in Lombard dies, Sun-Times, April 20, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Pedestrian Crash Facts,

Truck in Illinois,

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November 4, 2009

FMCSA Will Reconsider Hours of Service Rule for Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says it will consider revising the current hours of service rule that lets large truck drivers operate their vehicles for 11 hours/day. Their decision to reconsider the rule is part of a settlement reached with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, and the Truck Safety Coalition.

The groups had filed a lawsuit after the Bush Administration expanded the hours of service rule from 10-hours to 11-hours in December 2008. The revised rule let truckers operate their vehicles for 17 more hours even though there is ample evidence that driving longer hours can cause more traffic deaths and his bad for truck drivers’ health.

Per the settlement, the FMCSA has nine months to start the rulemaking process. A new rule must be published within 21 months.

The American Trucking Association is disputing claims that there is anything wrong with the current hours of service rule.

Chicago Truck Accidents
Plenty of studies reveal that driving any motor vehicle while exhausted can lead to catastrophic Illinois truck crashes, car accidents, motorcycle collisions, pedestrian accidents, and bus crashes. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that not only should a driver be well-rested before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, but also he or she should take periodic brakes every 100 mi or 2 hrs.

With their rigorous schedules and tight delivery deadlines, it is no wonder that truck drivers end up spending hours a day behind the wheel. When sleep apnea, fatigue, drowsy driving, or exhaustion dulls a trucker’s senses, slows reflexes, and impairs the ability to stay alert and pay attention to the road or surround vehicles, tragic Chicago truck crashes can happen.

Commercial driver agency to reconsider hours rule, Business Insurance, October 29, 2009

US DOT to revise hours of service rules, Today's Trucking, October 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Truck Safety Coalition

Public Citizen

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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,, 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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May 22, 2009

Illinois Truck Accidents: Truck Safety Coalition Speaks Out Against Heavier Loads

Truck safety advocates don’t want tractor-trailers to be allowed to carry heavier loads on highways. This could happen if a new transportation bill currently making its way through the US Congress is approved. While at a news conference earlier this month, Joan Claybrook of the Truck Safety Coalition called this a “public health crisis.”

The group is among a number of safety advocates that are fighting the bill and want Congress to enact H.R. 1617 and S.779, a bi-partisan effort that would freeze the current tractor-trailer limits to a weight maximum of 80,000 pounds and a length maximum of 53-feet. The Truck Safety Coalition has also launched the Web site

However, the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, an industry group, thinks adding an axle to big rig trucks would make it safer for these large trucks to carry heavier loads because the weight would be more evenly distributed. An additional axle would give big rigs 22 wheels. They currently have 18 wheels. As it stands, not allowing trucks to carry bigger loads could result in more trucks having to get onto roads to meet the increasing cargo demand.

More 2007 Truck Accident Statistics:

• 4,808 truck accident fatalities
• 154 were Illinois truck accident deaths
• 83,908 truck accident injuries
• 802 truck drivers killed on the job
• There are approximately 3.5 million American truck drivers
• Double-trailers trucks are 32% more likely than single-trailer trucks to be involved in deadly traffic accidents; they are also 200% more likely to be involved in accidents on interstate highways
• At least 10% of trucks that are on US roads are illegally overweight
• Trucks that are too heavy are a major cause of damages to bridges and highways

Safety advocates fight push for bigger truck loads, CNN, May 4, 2009

Families of truck crash victims to turn “Sorrow to Strength” by launching, TruckSafety,org, May 4, 4009

Related Web Resources:

Truck Safety Coalition

Coalition for Transportation Productivity

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May 20, 2009

Illinois Truck Accidents: Weighing the Benefits of Raising the Large Truck Speed Limit on Rural Interstates

Now that both the Illinois House and the Senate have approved legislation that would increase the semi-truck speed limit to 65 mph on rural interstates, it will be up to Governor Pat Quinn to decide whether to approve or veto the plan. This is not the first time legislation such as this has reached an Illinois Governor’s desk. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich vetoed legislation calling for the same mph maximum on three occasions because of what he said were safety concerns that could arise if large trucks were allowed to travel at the faster speed.

Preventing Illinois Truck Accidents
The question of whether or not it is safer or more dangerous to let trucks drive faster can result in different answers—depending on who you ask. Trucks that move at a fast pace tend to get their jobs done faster, which means that these vehicles don't have to spend as much time on the roads—possibly decreasing the chances of becoming involved in a large truck accident. Then again, the faster a truck goes, the more gas it spends, and its higher speed could also increase the chances the driver could become involved in a semi-truck accident. After all, excess speeding is often cited as a leading cause of large truck crashes.

A 2007 Forbes article cites The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as reporting that excess speed was the “critical precrash event” in 18% of all large truck crashes that were analyzed for a large truck causation study. A high-risk study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute found that among truck drivers convicted of speeding at least 15mph above the legal speed limit, 56% of these truckers ended up being involved in a large truck accident the following year.

In the recent years, the ATA had recommended to the FMCSA that engine governors be installed in large trucks to make sure that trucks don’t go over a 68 mph speed limit. The ATA has said this could decrease truck accident deaths by up to 10%.

Semis going 65? It's up to Gov. Quinn,, May 18, 2009

Truck Speed--Too Fast, Too Slow?,, March 6, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

American Transportation Research Institute

Continue reading "Illinois Truck Accidents: Weighing the Benefits of Raising the Large Truck Speed Limit on Rural Interstates" »

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May 13, 2009

Chicago Truck Accident Law Firm: Bad Economy Causes Unemployed, Inexperienced Workers to Seek Work As Long-Term Truck Drivers

The massive number of layoffs spurred by the bad economy is causing some unemployed workers to apply for jobs as long-haul truckers. The influx of new truck drivers bodes well for the US trucking industry, which has long had a shortage of truckers. There are tens of thousands of truck driver jobs that are still waiting to be filled.

Firstfleet Inc. fleet manager Tom Davis told that job inquiries have gone up by 40% to 50% since November. Many laid-off professionals from different socioeconomic backgrounds, including lawyers and doctors, are now taking truck driver training class so they can get certified and earn their commercial trucker driver’s license.

According to American Truck Association president and chief executive Bill Graves, this influx of new blood is good for the industry, which has experienced setbacks because of the economic recession. Avondale Partners says that 3,065 trucking companies went belly up in 2008.

Truck Driver Inexperience
Just because a person takes a training course and gets their commercial trucking license doesn’t mean they know how to safely drive a truck. As with any kind of driving, it takes time and hours logged on the road behind the wheel of a vehicle for a trucker to develop the experience necessary to know how to safely navigate through different situations while operating an 18-wheeler truck, a semi-truck, a semi-trailer truck, a tractor-trailer, or any other large truck. Even experienced drivers run the risk of making mistakes.

A large-sized truck can be a dangerous vehicle to have in the hands of an inexperienced truck driver. The personal injuries that can result because a truck driver didn’t know how to prevent a Chicago truck accident from happening can be catastrophic.

Regardless of whether the truck driver was a new trucker or an experienced driver, as an Illinois truck accident victim you may be entitled to personal injury compensation if his or her negligence caused your truck collision.

Downturn puts trucking firms in driver’s seat, MSNBC, March 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Driver-related Regulations, FMCSA

Truck Driving Schools

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May 4, 2009

Preventing US Truck Accidents: New Federal Bill Tries to Decrease Truck Collisions by Offering Trucking Companies Tax Incentives to Install Safety Devices

A new federal bill is offering truck drivers tax incentives in exchange for installing safety devices that could decrease the number of deadly truck accidents. The bill comes in the wake of the deadly California large truck accident in La Canada Flintridge on April 1 that claimed the lives of a father and daughter.

The bill would give an up to $3,500/truck tax deduction (at $350,00 maximum) to trucking companies if they buy and use updatable GPS equipment that include rule changes and new road closures, warning systems that let truck drivers know when their trucks have moved out of a lane, and automated systems that shut down trucks when the vehicle’s brake system is overloaded. The tax credit would be valid through 2014 before expiring. American Trucking Association spokesperson Clayton Boyce says truck companies would support the bill, introduced by California Rep David Dreier, especially as it won’t cost truck companies additional expenses.

Dreier co-sponsored the Commercial Motor Vehicle Advanced Safety Technology Tax Act of 2009, also known as HR 2024. The bill recognizes that there are technologies that exist that can increase safety on US roads, including collision warnings, brake stroke monitoring, vehicle stability systems, and lane departure warnings. The tax incentives could be beneficial to most trucking companies, 95% of which are small businesses that own no more than 20 trucks. Dreier also sent letters to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spurring both federal agencies to increase efforts to study how effectively truck navigation devices work in terms of improving safety on US roads.

Large truck crashes can be fatal for those involved. It is the responsibility of truck drivers and trucking companies and the federal agencies that regulate truck safety to make sure that they do everything they can to minimize the number of trucking collisions that occur in Illinois and other US states.

Many trucking companies are experienced in limiting liability when one of their drivers causes a deadly truck collision and they may try to get you to settle immediately. It is important that you speak with an lllinois truck crash lawyer first before you settle.

Federal proposal offers incentives to increase truck safety, Pasadena Star, April 1, 2009

Dreier Seeks to Strengthen Technology Resources for Trucking Industry, Congressman David Dreier, April 23, 2009

Related Web Resources:
HR 2024 Summary (PDF)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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April 28, 2009

Chicago Truck Accident Law Firm: Brake and Tire Failure Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents

According to the Department of Transportation, tire failure and brake defects are two common causes of trucking accidents. These can occur because of a defect in the brakes or tires caused by the manufacturer or product designer or because of improper maintenance. They can also occur due to negligence on the part of the trucking company or the driver, such as:

• When the trucker depowers the front brakes and depends on the trailer brakes to slow or downshift the vehicle.

• Improper brake setting.

• Failure by the truck driver to conduct a pre-trip inspection of all trucking equipment, which can consist of checking brake shoes to make sure they work correctly, making sure there aren’t any loose brake components, and checking for air leaks in the brake chamber.

• Improper loading can lead to brake malfunction or overheating.

The following tire-related problems can also lead to truck accidents:

• Improper tire maintenance

• Tire defect

• Using tires that do not meet minimum DOT tread depth standards

• Using mismatched tire sizes or tires that have significantly different wear

• Combining radial and bias ties on the same axle

• Improper tire pressure

• A worn or damaged tire

• A tire with air leakage or sidewall damage

There are federal regulations and laws that the trucking industry must abide by, and truck drivers, trucking companies, and their owners can be held liable if they failed to meet these standards and someone got hurt in a truck accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the US Department of Transportation are responsible for regulating the trucking industry, as is each state’s department of transportation.

Our Chicago truck accident lawyers can determine if the truck driver, the truck owner, the entity or person that leased the truck, the vehicle manufacturer, the tire maker, or the truck cargo shipper or loader should be held liable for your truck accident injuries.

Trucking Accidents: Common Causes & Liability, Nolo

Related Web Resources:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

US Department of Transportation

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March 26, 2009

Illinois Senate and House Members Approve Bills to Raise Large Truck Speed Limit to 65 Mph

In Illinois, the Senate and House have approved bills to increase the speed limit for heavy trucks on rural interstate highways to 65 miles an hour. The two bills however, are not identical, so the legislation will need more work before it can go to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

While the interstate highway speed limit for cars is 65 mph, the speed limit for semi-trucks is currently 55 mph. This has caused concern for traffic safety experts who think that having different speed limits increases the chances of traffic accidents. Illinois Senator Don Harmon from Oak Park, however, isn’t sure this is true. He points out that when the state of Missouri adopted a uniform speed limit on all state roads, the number of traffic deaths jumped.

House Bill 3956 passed with a 77-35 vote. A 38-14 vote lead to the approval of Senate Bill 1467. Cook County is not included in either bill. The five counties around Chicago are exempt from the House bill.

Large Truck Accidents
The owners and drivers of large garbage trucks, fully-loaded delivery trucks, semi-trucks, 18-wheeler trucks, and tractor-trailers have a responsibility to make sure that these vehicles are operated safely on US roads. A collision with one of these large vehicles can be deadly for the occupants of smaller vehicles and motorcycles, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in an Illinois truck crash, please contact our Chicago truck collision law firm today for your free case evaluation.

Although you cannot control a truck driver's behavior behind the wheel of a large truck, there are steps other motorists can take to avoid getting involved in a collision with a large truck, such as:

• Avoid cutting in front of a large truck and slowing down suddenly. The drivers of large trucks need more time to stop their vehicles than the drivers of passenger vehicles.
• Know that you if you are unable to see the trucker when you are looking at the truck’s side mirror, chances are the driver can’t see you and you should get out of the truck’s blind spot.

Legislators tackle speed limits for semis, overtime and steroids testing,, March 26, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Lawmakers Want to Raise Semi-Trailer Truck Speed Limit to 65mph, Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, March 12, 2009

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, FMCSA

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March 9, 2009

Chicago Truck Accidents Can Occur if Trucker has Serious Existing Medical Condition and Gets Sick While Driving

While many Illinois truck accidents do occur in Chicago and throughout the state because a trucker or another motorist was negligent, there are truck crashes that can occur because a truck driver was suffering from a serious medical condition that has impaired his or her ability to drive. One way the federal government has tried to prevent this is to require that truckers take a medical exam every two years.

One of the problems with this, however, is that anyone who is a medical examiner but is not necessarily qualified to determine whether a truck driver is medically fit to operate a commercially licensed truck, can sign off on this exam. It also is pretty easy for a truck driver to download blank medical cards online and fill out the information while forging a medical examiner’s signature. Doctor names and medical license numbers are now easily accessible online.

Last year, a congressional probe determined that one out of every three medical certificates that were examined could not be verified. In some instances, the doctors that supposedly signed off on the certificates could not be found or, when they were approached claimed they never examined the trucker. Even when a truck driver’s doctor was contacted for information, medical confidentiality prevented him or her from revealing patient information without a special waiver.

In December 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration approved a rule that gave the different states three years to start placing medical examination certificates and licenses for truckers and bus operators under one electronic source.

Illinois truck accidents
When a catastrophic Illinois truck accident happens because a trucker who was already suffering from a medical condition passed out, had a heart attack, or experienced another serious medical ailment, the consequences for the truck driver, other motorists, and pedestrians can be deadly. The Government Accountability Office reports that a May 2007 and June 2008 study shows that about 536,000 commercial vehicle operators were issued their commercial vehicle driver’s licenses even though they qualified for complete medical disability.

I-Team Investigation: Medically Unfit Truck Drivers, Kentucky, March 5, 2009

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Related Web Resource:
Truck Accident Laws, Justia

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