Trucks make up a significant proportion of vehicular traffic on American roadways and their presence cannot be ignored in the Chicago area. During all hours of the day and night, trucks and their drivers are operating on our expressways and interstates as well as local roads and some alleys, delivering goods and hauling products from one location to another. Trucks are a vital part of our local and national economy to the point where a world without trucks seems incomprehensible. But are trucks a positive force in our lives or a negative one?
It is a complicated question with a challenging answer. It is clear that truck accidents are a serious, and even devastating part of our traffic issues in Illinois and that too many lives are being affected by them. But the causes of these accidents and the steps to take to avoid them are not as clear, leaving the public with a muddled view of truck safety and the best practices for driving in the trucking industry.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that nearly 4,000 people lose their lives in truck accidents every year in this country. On average, that means that nearly 11 lives are lost every day, and the families, friends, and loved ones of those victims will be forced to suffer forever due to the collisions. More than 100,000 others are injured but survive truck accidents yet some may never fully recover, forced to live with the damages caused in only a moment.
Like any type of traffic incident, the reasons behind truck collisions are many and varied. Some crashes can be blamed on overworked and overly tired drivers even though federal regulations are in place to prevent these motorists from operating until they have rested. Other crashes stem from risky conduct by a driver of a truck including texting while driving or speeding with a large number of these truckers having been reprimanded for dangerous behavior in the past. And yet other collisions can be traced to a lack of safety technology and/or equipment on the truck itself, endangering the lives of those in other vehicles as well as anyone who operates the truck itself.
Concerned in part by this safety track record, drivers were inspected in 2012 and nearly five percent of all truckers were removed from service for having too many violations on their records, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This equates to the removal of 171,150 drivers who were previously operating large, heavy, and potentially dangerous trucks even though their records should have prevented them from doing so and in spite of the risks it posed to the public.
To keep Chicago’s roads as safe as possible, all drivers should be aware of trucks and should be guarded when near them. Never cut off a truck, follow too closely, or follow alongside a trailer as you will increase the odds of causing a collision. Further, understand that a truck takes longer to start and stop than a passenger car so respect this by allowing the truck and truck driver the space it needs whenever possible.
Finally, know that if you are the victim of a truck accident in Illinois, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages including any medical expenses you incurred. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. offer a case consultation without cost or obligation to all victims and their family members who call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575. To make it convenient for you, we have an attorney standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
If your life has been affected by a truck collision, call Abels & Annes, P.C. now and let us put our experience to work for you.
Prior Blog Entry:
Tire Integrity Affects an Entire Vehicle’s Safety, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published March 7, 2016.
Truck accidents surge: Why no national outcry?, by Eamon Javers and Jennifer Schlesinger, CNBC, published July 30, 2014.