A toddler was killed in an Uptown pedestrian crash on June 9, the second child traffic death to occur on Chicago streets in just a week.  

The 3-year-old was riding in a child seat attached to the back of her mother’s bike. Her mother had to ride around a ComEd truck which was parked in the bike lane and blocking a stop sign, forcing her to ride between the ComEd truck and a semi truck which was traveling in the same direction. The mother’s bike was clipped by the semi, causing the toddler to be thrown under the wheels. The child, identified as Elizabeth Shambrook, was pronounced dead at Lurie Children’s Hospital shortly after.   

ComEd Truck Accident Scene

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Isaac Espinoza was helping a friend with his broken down car on a stretch of highway I-81 just outside Chambersburg, Pennsylvania when he was hit by a truck driver with a blood alcohol level more than 4x the legal limit. The driver, Ricky Hatfield, ran from the scene of the accident and was later found and arrested by Pennsylvania State Police. His employer, J.B. Hunt, a major transportation logistics company headquartered in Lowell, Arkansas, failed to screen Hatfield’s employment and driving records, which included a previous DUI arrest while operating a tractor-trailer, 2 charges for reckless driving, speeding in a construction zone while driving a tractor-trailer, and job termination for failure of a drug and alcohol test and attempting to bribe the test administrator. These charges and Mr. Hatfield’s firing from a previous employer all occurred within the past 5 years.

Jury Finds Both Driver and Employer Negligent

Ricky Hatfield was considered an independent operator, a trucker who ran his own company but contracted with J.B. Hunt under an Outsource Carriage Agreement. The agreement requires the contracted employee to self-certify their driving record, with the logical expectation that J.B. Hunt would conduct a background check to verify the information. The company never checked Hatfield’s record, arguing that Mr. Hatfield was technically self-employed and had a duty to screen his own record. The company also attempted to argue that Ricky Hatfield personally made the decision to become intoxicated and that he was technically driving on his day off. Mr. Espinoza’s attorneys quickly refuted these claims, proving that Hatfield had been contracted to drive for J.B. Hunt and was operating the tractor-trailer and not his personal vehicle because he was out on dispatch for the company.

There are a significant number of tractor-trailers on the road at any given time of the day. These tractor-trailers play an important role in our economy. Yet, with all these tractor-trailers on the road, the number of tractor-trailer related accidents is fairly high.

Recently, in Champaign County, Illinois, a 26-year old driver was hospitalized and charged with a DUI after he caused a three-vehicle accident. This particular accident happened on I-72 east, mile marker 179. The at-fault driver was speeding when he crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer, bouncing off of the truck’s trailer and then crashing into another vehicle. The 26-year old driver was life-flighted to a nearby hospital and his injuries are unknown at this point.   

As you know, being involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer can cause serious bodily injury or even death. As it turns out, there are certain dangers associated with these tractor-trailers that you should be knowledgeable of. Being aware of said dangers will best allow you to drive safely when a tractor-trailer is traveling nearby.

Distracted driving occurs when a person is driving a motor vehicle while, at the same time, engaged in an activity that could take the his or her eyes off of the road. Distracted driving, or inattentive driving, is a very common cause of accidents. This is especially true nowadays with drivers looking down at their cell phones. Tractor-trailer drivers can occasionally get distracted, or become inattentive, too. This has the potential of resulting in serious and even fatal accidents.

About one week ago, in mid October 2016, a male tractor-trailer driver was headed north on Interstate 55 near Springfield, Illinois. Illinois State Police reported that an incident earlier that day caused traffic to slow. The tractor-trailer driver was inattentive and did not notice that the traffic ahead of him was traveling slowly. He realized this seconds before impact and attempted to jerk her truck to the side to avoid a collision; he did not prevail in his attempt. His tractor-trailer hit another tractor-trailer and then rolled onto its side in a ditch.  

If you are injured from a tractor-trailer-related accident, it is important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

As you may know, automobile accidents are among the main causes of personal injury and fatalities. In attempt to cut back in auto accidents, various companies are experimenting with automated vehicles. Recent studies show that automated vehicles could safe up to 300,000 lives every decade here in the United States. A report produced by Google shows that automated vehicles are potentially one of the best things to happen to public health during this century.

Another report emphasizes that auto accidents significantly impact our economy. In 2012, auto accidents in the United States cost our economy $212 billion. This report goes on to say that automated vehicles can potentially decrease the auto accident rate by 90 percent. So, automated vehicles can save the United States about $190 billion!

Well, what about Automated Tractor-Trailers?

Imagine this, you are driving down the road, when all of a sudden a large mattress flies into your path causing you to quickly swerve out of your lane and, in turn, results in a horrible accident with two other vehicles! Accidents caused by road debris can be serious and sometimes fatal! As discussed below, accidents caused by road debris happen often.

Road debris varies in form. Road debris can be in the form of a shredded tire, a couch, tools, refrigerator, wood, animals, et cetera (essentially anything that falls into, or enters, the road).

You may sometimes be surprised with the road debris you encounter. For instance, a couple weeks ago, a tractor-trailer rolled over while traveling on Interstate 70 in a rural section of Illinois. The driver allegedly swerved to miss a dear when his truck flipped on its side on top of a median. While the tractor-trailer was on its side, about 11 head of cattle perished on a westbound stretch of the Interstate. The cattle wandered into oncoming traffic! The truck driver was not injured but oncoming cars hit some cattle.     

Tractor-trailers are the largest, and most powerful, vehicles on the road. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that tractor-trailers weigh up to 30 times more than passenger vehicles, leaving passenger vehicles extremely vulnerable to these beasts. Taking into account the power behind these machines, if you are involved in an accident with one, it is likely that you will suffer severe injury, or even death!

What is frightening is that an alarming number of tractor-trailer drivers engage in certain behavior, while driving, that increases the possibility of having auto accidents. Earlier this week, in O’Fallon, Illinois, a tractor-trailer driver and his female passenger got into an argument. According to O’Fallon Illinois police, this argument led to a multi-vehicle crash. One person, an innocent motorist, died from this accident. This accident occurred around 9:30 p.m. on Route 50 eastbound.

When police arrived at the scene, they discovered a five-car-accident; all caused by the tractor-trailer. The one motorist’s death occurred when his vehicle flipped upside down. Three other motorists sustained injuries.

On September 19, 2016, Illinois State Police reported to a tractor-trailer related accident. This auto accident occurred around 11:15 a.m. at the intersection of Illinois 1 and Kankakee County Road 12000 North. The driver of a 1993 Jeep was headed east on 12000 North. He did not stop at the intersection’s stop sign. His Jeep then forcefully crashed into 2017 Kenworth tractor-trailer headed north. The driver of the 1993 Jeep was airlifted to a nearby hospital and sadly died the next day.

These accidents are not rare. Rather, tractor-trailer related accidents run rampant across the United States. In fact, and according to Legal Info, there are nearly 500,000 tractor-trailer related accidents every year! Around 5,000 of these accidents result in fatalities. It is also reported that one out of every eight traffic fatality involves a collision with a tractor-trailer. A lot of these accidents happen right here in Illinois, too.  

There are several driving techniques to help you avoid colliding with a tractor-trailer. First however, if you are injured from an auto accident involving a tractor-trailer, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.

On the breezy afternoon of October 11 2016, just after 4:00 p.m., a child was struck by a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer was headed south on Main Street in New Boston, Illinois. This child allegedly entered the road seconds before being hit by the truck. He sustained life-threatening injuries. Once hit, the child was rushed to a local hospital and was then airlifted to another hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Thousands of deaths occur every year from people crossing the roadways. Sometimes the accident is at the fault of the driver and not the pedestrian. For instance, sometimes the accident occurs because the approaching vehicle is traveling too fast, is distracted, is drunk/impaired, is sleeping, or for other negligent behavior.

If you or your loved one sustains an injury related to the foregoing, you may be entitled to compensation for the resulting damages. To increase your chances at a successful claim, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation.

Recently, in Illinois, a three-vehicle collision resulted in two individuals being transported to a nearby hospital. This accident occurred on United States Highway 20 near Illinois Route 73. It, unfortunately, involved a massive tractor-tractor crashing into two smaller vans. One of the individuals involved, was airlifted to a nearby Rockford hospital and a second individual was transported in an ambulance. Tractor-trailers, such as this one, are powerful, extremely heavy, and run rampant on United States highways posing the risk of severe injury at every turn.

As a matter of fact, there are nearly 5.6 million registered tractor-trailers in the United States. These tractor-trailers drive an average of 45,000 miles annually. However, the trucking industry and the Federal Highway Administration estimate this average to be around 100,000 miles for the long-distance trucks. The maximum weight for a United States tractor-trailer, including its full trailer spread of about 53 feet in length, is 80,000 pounds. This weight is spread across 18 wheels.

Weight Standards for Tractor-Trailers

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