Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer In Illinois
Illinois has twelve primary highways and eleven auxiliary highways. As commerce in the United States grows, so too does the amount of semi-trucks carrying their cargo, some weighing as much as 80,000 pounds. Unfortunately, for the auto that weighs less than 4,000 pounds, a collision can have deadly consequences.
In 2012 alone, tractor-trailers were involved in almost 10,000 Illinois roadway crashes. These crashes accounted for 3.6 percent of the total crashes in Illinois that year and caused the deaths of 94 people. Another 2,315 people were injured in these crashes. Of the persons killed or injured, only 20 percent were the truck driver. The rest were smaller vehicle drivers and passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
If you have been injured or someone you love has been hurt or killed as a result of a trucking accident, contact Illinois Truck Accident Lawyer Christopher Dixon. Call 855-40-CRASH.
Illinois Truck Accident Causes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) did one of the most comprehensive studies on tractor-trailer accident causes. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study identified the top factors associated with truck crashes:
- Prescription drug use
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliar with roadway
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
- Work-related pressure
- Illegal maneuver
- External distractions
- Inadequate evasive action
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Unfamiliarity with the vehicle
- Following too closely
- False assumption of the actions of other road users
- Brake failure
- Traffic flow disruption such as those caused by a prior crash
- Roadway related factors
- Driver required to stop before crash
- Weather-related factors
- Cargo shift
- Driver pressured to operate even though fatigued
- Cargo securement
- Illegal drug use
- Alcohol use
Because tractor-trailers take up to 40 percent longer to stop, these types of crashes are 25 percent more likely to result in fatalities than crashes involving passenger vehicles.
Federal Regulations for Truck Drivers
The federal government has recognized that large commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers pose a greater risk on the roads due to their size and weight. The FMCSA is responsible for enforcing a large number of rules and regulations regarding truck driver regulations, vehicle regulations, company regulations, Hazmat regulations, and regulatory guidance.
Truck driver regulations include the amount of hours drivers are allowed to be on the road. Specifically, truck drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours or to drive after having been on-duty for 14 hours. After completing 11 – 14 hours on duty, the driver is required to take 10 hours off.
Every truck driver is required to maintain a logbook that keeps track of his or her time driving and time off. The logbooks are very detailed and reference changes in location, miles driven during the day, and load information. Trucking companies are also required to keep logs on their drivers to ensure all regulations are being followed.
Although there are numerous regulations in place to protect all drivers and passengers on the road, trucking companies can push the physical limits of their drivers. Most drivers are paid by the mile and some falsify their logbooks to earn more money. Falsifying logbooks is relatively simple, as they are paper records. There is very little to stop drivers from forging their books. The FMCSA has reported that 25 to 75 percent of truck drivers have violated their hours of service (HOS). Many trucking companies ignore the violations of their drivers.
When truck drivers and trucking companies put money ahead of the safety of themselves and the general public, serious and fatal accidents occur.
In June 2014, actor Tracy Morgan was riding as a passenger in a limo when a Wal-Mart truck smashed into the rear of the vehicle, killing his friend James McNair. Morgan sustained a broken leg, broken ribs, a broken nose, and a traumatic brain injury that he may have to deal with for the rest of his life. Wal-Mart attorneys tried to place blame on the victims for not wearing seat belts, but their truck driver was found to have been driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. The driver, Kevin Roper, was also at his drive time limit and it was speculated that he had been awake for more than 24 hours.
Illinois Truck Accident Investigation
After a truck-car accident, preserving critical evidence is vital. There are several pieces of important information that can help establish liability after a collision involving a tractor-trailer.
- Black box data:Semis are often equipped with systems that record important information just before an accident including the truck’s speed, braking information and engine speed.
- Logbooks:By law, truck drivers are required to keep a detailed log of how many miles they drive each day and the number of hours they spend off duty.
- Radio recordings:Important information about the events leading up to the accident may be contained in recordings of communications between a truck driver and the dispatcher.
An experienced tractor-trailer accident lawyer will work to make sure the evidence establishing liability is not destroyed.
Contact an Illinois Semi Accident Lawyer
Truck drivers and trucking companies often place their earnings above the rest of the driving public. It’s been shown that forging logbooks is a common practice. When regulations are ignored, truck drivers’ risk lives. If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed as the result of truck or tractor-trailer accident, our experienced injury lawyers are standing by to help. There are time limits for filing your claim. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you recover damages.
Our lawyers have been recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association and are Life-Time Members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. For a FREE consultation, call (855) 40 – CRASH or (312) 600-8054, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is NO FEE unless we win.