April 4, 2015

Recent Reports Indicate Fatal Big Rig Accidents Are On the Rise

by Levin & Perconti

As our readers know, truck accidents can be extremely dangerous to all involved. Even when these accidents are not fatal, they often result in victims suffering serious injuries that are sometimes permanent and disabling. These are the types of accidents we need to work together as a community to prevent, whether by contacting our legislature, reporting unsafe driving to trucking companies or authorities to hold employees/employers accountable, or encouraging friends and family members to drive safely and avoid negligence. With extra efforts, we can bring the numbers of these accidents down.

CBS News, recently reported that the number of fatal accidents involving big-rigs is on the rise. that the report links this increase to the fact that most tires on trucks are not meant to handle maximum constant speeds over 75 mph, yet many truckers travel at for long distances on expressways for their routes. Trucks across the nation consistently exceed that limit, and federal investigators believe this is leading to crashes. The article also reports data that between 2009 and 2013, large trucks and buses were responsible for 14,000 fatal accidents across the county. Of those fatalities, 223 were related to heavy truck tires, according to government data.

The same article notes that last month, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation revealed that multiple Michelin tire blowouts were to the result of a deadly combination of high speeds and lack of maintenance. The NHTSA stated that no truck tire is rated above 81 mph and most are rated at 75 mph. However, 16 of our states have truck speeds equal to or greater than 75 mph. Four states even have speeds at 80 mph. For these reasons, some argue that state laws are an explanation of failures to combat big-rig fatalities.

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April 3, 2015

Chicago Woman Killed in Accident with Semi

by Levin & Perconti

It is always saddening to learn about local lives lost in car and trucking accidents caused by negligence. It is especially tragic when the victim was very young and had a lot of potential and life yet to live. That is why our attorneys believe it is so important to remind community members that when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle, they have a responsibility toward others. Their actions as a driver can take the lives of their passengers and others on the road if they do not practice safe driving.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, a Brighton Park woman died after the friend that was driving her crashed into the side of a semi-truck. The accident occurred in the city’s Lower West Side community in the early morning in the 3100 block of South Damen Avenue where the road passes over the Stevenson Expressway. The car hit the passenger side of the trailer of a semi-truck that was making a left turn to enter northbound Damen. The driver of the car also suffered serious injuries. The accident is still under investigation by the police department’s Major Accident Investigation Unit.

When we share the roadways with large vehicles like trucks and tractor-trailers, it is especially important to exercise caution. There is no room for negligence around large trucks. Because of the extreme size, both in height and weight, of these vehicles, a collision is extremely dangerous and often results in serious personal injuries and fatalities. Common serious and permanent injuries can include broken bones, nerve damage, or loss of limbs. Injuries like these are life-changing and may even take away one’s ability to work or go about their daily lives the same way.

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March 26, 2015

Elderly Couple Involved in Aurora Semi-Truck Accident

by Levin & Perconti

Even though winter weather conditions may finally be coming to a close soon, this does not mean that truck accidents are on the decline. Although winter weather is often a factor in increased risk for collisions, these dangerous accidents can and do happen in any type of weather or time of day. When drivers of trucks or motor vehicles are negligent or distracted, accidents are very likely to happen. With just increased attention and diligence to safety and the laws of the road, lives could be saved and injuries could be prevented.

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, an 89-year-old man was killed, and his 87-year-old wife seriously injured in a crash with a semi-truck in Aurora. The accident occurred at the intersection of Eola Road and Diehl Road. The accident occurred in the afternoon. The man was driving west on Diehl and went through a red light at the intersection at Eola. The car and the semi-truck, that was driving north on Eola with a green light, then collided. The car was pushed across the roadway and the truck then went into another vehicle that was on Eola and attempting to turn onto Diehl.

It is very unfortunate and saddening that a preventable accident took the life of this elderly man and took him away from his beloved elderly wife. Interestingly, this is mere steps from the site of the notorious semi-truck accident that took the life of a tollway worker and seriously injured an Illinois State Trooper in winter of 2014 . Being a major suburban road and also right off of a large Chicagoland interstate, this is a high traffic area for commuters and trucks traveling their routes. Such high traffic areas require additional caution on top of what should be our already safe driving practices. It only takes a moment of inattentiveness to safety or road signs to cause an accident. In busy and high-speed areas like this intersection off of the I-88 interstate where there are many drivers, accidents can easily occur.

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March 23, 2015

Mail Truck Rollover Crash Seriously Injures Two in Plainfield

by Levin & Perconti

Often, when we think of truck accidents, we envision the giant semi-trucks, tankers, and tractor-trailers. These truck accidents are extremely dangerous due to these vehicles’ large size and weight. However, truck accidents can involve all types of trucks, both commercial and not-commercial. Even when a truck is not as big as a tractor trailer or semi, they still tend to be heavy vehicles, and are often much larger than other motor vehicles on the road . Whether pickup trucks or commercial vehicles, truck accidents can result in serious personal injuries. This was the case recently when a U.S. mail truck as involved in a rollover accident in Plainfield.

According to ABC Chicago, two people were seriously injured in a mail truck rollover crash in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield. The accident occurred at Route 126 and County Line Road. According to the Plainfield Fire Department, the postal worker was driving eastbound on Route 126 and lost control of the mail truck. The truck then flipped over into oncoming traffic and was struck by a motor vehicle. The postal worker had to be airlifted to a hospital in serious condition, and the man in the other vehicle also had to be taken to a hospital for medical attention for serious personal injuries.

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March 20, 2015

Tanker Truck Explodes On I-94

by Levin & Perconti

As our readers know, truck accidents can be extremely dangerous. These vehicles that are extremely large in height and size are very common in our area, as Chicago is a large hub for business. Trucks are constantly going to and from our metropolitan area, carrying all sorts of products and goods for businesses. However, sometimes the things they carry are not your everyday consumer items but may be hazardous materials. While truck accidents are already dangerous on their own, consider the gravity of an impact when a hazardous material like gasoline or other chemicals are involved.

According to a recent report by Fox17 News, a tanker truck exploded on Interstate 94. The fire started in the morning, and emergency crews had to battle the fire for several hours into the afternoon. Because of the fire, the interstate was shut down in both directions due to the extreme danger and emergency crews responding. The truck driver was transported to the hospital, and is expected to recover from his injuries. The accident is currently under investigation, as authorities are trying to determine what caused the tanker to explode.

The Chicago Tribune also reported on this explosion, describing how the accident sent huge plumes of smoke into the air, requiring the interstate to be closed. Emergency responders had to battle the fire for several hours, and the fire continued to flare up multiple times as firefighters fought to extinguish it. Apparently, even after the fire was contained on the scene, fires in the city’s sewer system continue to pose dangers and problems for the interstate and local area. A spokesperson from the state’s department of transportation stated that the truck had more than 13,000 gallons of diesel and gasoline in the tanker.

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March 18, 2015

55 Injured in Train Collision

by Levin & Perconti

Trucks and trains are two of the largest modes sizewise of ground transportation used traveling or transporting goods for businesses. However, because these vehicles are so large in height and weight and extremely fast in speed, when they are in an accident, the crash is likely to result in serious personal injuries or fatalities. One of the worst situations though, is when trains and semi-trucks collide. Not only can their size and speed cause serious damage, but a large number of people are usually involved or affected by the accident as well.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, a train and a semi tractor-trailer collided resulting in at least 55 people injured. A tractor-trailer got stuck on tracks while trying to make a left-hand turn, and an Amtrak train slammed into it. The state highway patrol reported that the oversized flatbed trailer was transporting a modular building wrapped in blue plastic and filled with electrical equipment. At the time of the incident, a trooper was trying to help the truck driver complete a difficult left-hand turn across the tracks and onto a two-lane highway. However, the truck, being 164 feet in length, couldn’t make the turn. This attempt lasted for about five minutes, and the trooper reported that during this time there was no indication of a train in the vicinity. Even though they were alerted by the lights and gates when the train began to approach, there was not enough time to reverse off the tracks before the train collided with the truck. In addition, it was difficult to get off the tracks because while the truck was attempting this maneuver because traffic had backed up behind it.

One witness shot a video of the accident with her cellphone. She saw the truck driver jump out of the truck as the train approached, right before the collision. State officials have said that 55 people were injured as a result of the crash, but federal authorities believe the number may be as high as 62. Those injured include the conductor of the Amtrak train. A spokesperson from the Federal Railroad Administration stated that it appeared that the locomotive and two cars derailed, out of a total of one locomotive and seven cars.

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March 13, 2015

Illinois Legislature Advances Bill to Impose Tougher Rules on Trucking Industry

by Levin & Perconti

We’ve discussed many truck accidents with unique causes. Many typical motor vehicle accidents are often due to driver negligence like speeding and failing to stop for a signal, or crashing under poor weather conditions, and while these are still factors for truck accidents, there is an additional and very significant factor that leads to many serious truck accidents: not abiding by federal and state rules set for the trucking industry.

Our governments have rules in place specifically mandated for the commercial trucking industry to follow to promote safety and protect everyone on the road. It is far too often that trucking companies order their drivers to drive too many consecutive hours straight without rest to get a job done, which endangers the lives of drivers and others on the road, and greatly increases the likelihood of a crash when drivers are fatigued. Oftentimes this occurs when drivers falsify their log books and drive many hours straight, causing them to fall asleep behind the wheel. It is important that the state and federal governments fight these actions of putting profit before the safety and welfare of those on the road with fatigued drivers.

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March 11, 2015

Truck Driver Falls Asleep, Causing Fatal Collision With Motor Vehicle & School Bus

by Levin & Perconti

Truck driver fatigue has been a major issue not only in Illinois, but throughout our country. It is one which many government representatives are trying to tackle through legislation and attorneys, like ours, are trying to battle through legal action. When a truck driver operates a truck with too little sleep and too many consecutive hours of driving, they are not only putting all others on the road in danger and breaching their legal duty of care to be safe drivers, but they are breaking the law.

The federal law is known as the Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule, and it was published in 2011, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Hours of Service regulations impose limits on how long a driver may operate the truck and continue driving over a consecutive period without a break. For property-carrying drivers, such as commercial truckers, there is an 11-hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Drivers also may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. As for rest breaks, a driver may only drive if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of a driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.

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March 7, 2015

Mother & Two Children Killed By Semi-Truck While Crossing Chicago Intersection

by Levin & Perconti

It is no surprise that pedestrian accidents are extremely dangerous and cause serious personal injuries or death, but these accidents should not occur as frequently as they do. Unfortunately, in a city like Chicago where many people rely on traveling by foot or public transportation instead of driving, our lawyers read about pedestrians being injured as a result of driver negligence all too often. With proper precautions and abiding by the law and traffic signals, fewer accidents could happen. With a high number of pedestrians, Chicago should be a place where people feel safe and trust that they are not in danger when they walk to various locations.

A recent article by the Chicago Tribune relayed the news that a mother and her two children were killed by a semi-truck when crossing a Chicago intersection. On Friday evening at 5 P.M., the mother and her children were crossing Ashland Avenue and 43rd Street when they were run over. The truck driver has been cited with failing to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk and for making an improper left turn on a two-way road. He has a later court date scheduled regarding the accident. After hitting the three victims, the truck driver continued down the road, unaware he had hit the three people. The friends and family of the victims are especially sorrowful over the fact that they were all very young, including the 30-year-old mother. Had the driver followed traffic laws, these three people could still be safe and sound and alive with their family and loved ones.

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March 5, 2015

Illinois Department of Transportation Truck Involved in I-57 Crash

by Levin & Perconti

It is far too often that our lawyers hear in the news about truck accidents on our Illinois highways, roads, and interstates. As a result of driver negligence, there are frequent collisions resulting in rollover accidents, crossing into opposing lanes of traffic, going off the roadways from winter weather, and too many resulting personal injuries. But for driver negligence, many personal injuries and wrongful deaths could be avoided. Through simply using caution, upholding standards of safety, and abiding by traffic laws, many lives would be saved

According to an article by the Chicago Sun-Times, a Chicago west suburban man, hailing from Cicero, and another driver were injured in a crash between a semi-truck and a Illinois Department of Transportation truck. The accident occurred in Kankankee County on Interstate 57. The semi-truck was southbound on the interstate when it crossed the median and crashed into the IDOT truck that was in the northbound lane. Illinois State Police reported this was near milepost 304. As a result of the collision, the IDOT driver had to be extricated from his truck and hospitalized. The Cicero man, who was driving the southbound semi, was also injured and taken to a hospital. Authorities cited him for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

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February 28, 2015

Champaign Truck Crash Results in Chemical Spill

by Levin & Perconti

Commercial trucks transport a wide variety of goods in their employment to the diverse array of businesses and services offered throughout our nation. If you take notice to the types of trucks you see on the road, you can see that just in any given day you will see trucking companies that transport goods far different from each other. Some are carrying food products from different locations, others carrying furniture, machinery and tools for industries, some have large furniture, and others may even have to carry dangerous goods as part of their job.

Oftentimes the law imposes a higher standard on those conducting what are considered “inherently dangerous activities.” This is known as strict liability. Tortfeasors are strictly liable for activities which are extremely dangerous in their very nature. Some common examples include crop dusting, blasting, or transporting toxic chemicals. If an injury results from inherently dangerous activities like these, and the injury is one that is typical and expected of such an activity, the negligent party may be held strictly liable through a personal injury lawsuit.

In a recent report by Fox News, a hazardous chemical spill was the result of a tractor trailer overturning on Interstate 57 in Champaign. As a result of the spill, over 100 residents had to leave their homes because of the danger posed by the chemical’s vapors. The chemical that spilled was dimethylaminopropylamine, which is a chemical used in cleaners and shampoos. The chemical is extremely flammable, and the vapors from it can cause health complications.

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February 27, 2015

Truck Driver Responsible for I-88 Crash Found Guilty of Driving While Impaired

by Levin & Perconti

Our attorneys were saddened by last year’s Chicago suburban truck crash that injured an Illinois state trooper and took the life of the tollway worker he was assisting. Since this crash occurred, we have been dedicated to keeping informed of the legal developments so that these victims can obtain justice for this wrongdoing and that the roads may be an overall safer place.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, the truck driver responsible for the crash has been found guilty of driving while impaired. The court ruled that the trucker was found guilty of fatigued driving and violating safety laws, making him guilty of three of the four felonies he faced. The court dismissed counts that he had falsified his logbook, citing that there was lack of evidence.

Authorities reported he had been driving or on duty in significant excess of the hours allowed under the law, according to the same article. The judge reiterated in court that the defendant had been driving or on duty for at least 18 or 20 hours over the course of 26 hours. This was in violation of laws that limit a commercial operator to 11 hours behind the wheel over a 14-hour shift. When he struck the Illinois State Police squad car stopped along the side of the road, the police car’s gas tank was ruptured. This sparked flames and explosions. The truck driver had been hauling 14,000 pound rolls of steel, and upon collision, one came free and struck the tollway worker’s vehicle, killing him. Even though the tollway worker and police officer’s vehicles had the emergency flashers activated and were visible on the side of the road, the truck driver did not heed them any attention because he had fallen asleep.

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