Earlier today, our Chicago truck accident attorneys read a report on ABCLocal.com detailing a semi truck accident on the Dan Ryan. The semi truck jack-knifed on the ramp near 26th Street at around noon and caused diesel fuel to leak from the truck. Traffic on the Dan Ryan came to a complete halt for over four hours as a hazardous material team cleans the roads. While the cause of the accident is unknown, the truck driver remained uninjured and the accident caused no other crashes.
Although this semi truck accident resulted in no injuries or fatalities, often times accidents involving hazardous materials can often prove deadly. A study was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2004 investigating crashes involving trucks carrying hazardous materials. The study found that of the 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials each year by commercial trucks, over 200 are involved in fatal crashes while 5,000 trucks are involved in non-fatal crashes. Although this number is substantially smaller than the total of trucks involved in crashes, the potential for injury and property damage in hazardous material crashes is significantly greater.
The United States Department of Transportation holds drivers of hazardous materials to strict regulations to avoid such deadly accidents. These regulations cover various regulations involving the loading and operating of hazardous materials. The state of Illinois also regulates the transportation of hazardous material. Illinois has the ability to suspend or restrict a driver from transporting hazmat materials, as well as, impose a $10,000 fine to a driver or their company if they are found in violations of federal or state regulations.
When truck drivers and their companies fail to adhere to federal and state hazardous material regulations, serious injury and death can occur. Truck drivers are held to an increased standard of care when operating these types of vehicles to ensure the safety of themselves as well as the drivers around them. If the standard of care is overlooked and an accident resulting injury or death occurs, the driver may be held liable for his or her negligence. The victim or their family may be able to file suit against the truck driver and their company for the damages incurred.
Our Illinois accident attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience when handling trucking accidents. These types of accidents are life altering and many times legal action can and should be sought. If you or your family has been affected by a truck accident, please contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to see what legal rights may be available to you.