Our Illinois semi truck accident attorneys recently read a report detailing a fatal semi truck collision that resulted in felony criminal charges against the commercial vehicle driver. The accident, which occurred early last year, resulted in the death of the 47-year-old female driver of a passenger vehicle –according to RecordPub.com. The semi truck, which was hauling a triple trailer, was traveling through a construction zone on a toll road when the driver fell asleep behind the wheel – subsequently colliding with the motor vehicle in front of him. The collision caused the passenger vehicle to in turn collide with the semi truck in front of it.
The driver of the motor vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. The vehicle’s passengers, the woman’s two sons, were critically injured as a result of the accident. The 12-year-old son suffered critical head trauma that has left him incapacitated for life. Additionally, the 16-year-old son sustained a broken pelvis and facial fractures along with other injuries. The 49-year-old driver of the semi truck pleaded not-guilty to three felony charges. These charges included: one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault. The prosecutor in the case stated that the charges were filed as a direct result of an extensive investigation into the accident.
We frequently discuss in our blogs the severe dangers that are associated with semi truck driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of semi truck accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 55,000 driving fatigue accidents occur in the United States each year. Of that number, 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries result each year from driver fatigued collisions.
Many of these fatigued-related accidents occur as a direct result of drivers being encouraged by trucking company’s demanding and impractical schedules for transporting shipments as quickly as possible. For this reason, semi truck drivers travel long hours without sleep or use stimulants such as energy drinks or coffee. Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that these types of stimulants do more harm than good and can actually decrease a driver’s response time.
The operation of large commercial vehicles is rigorously regulated through state and federal laws. These laws strictly prohibit the negligent operation of semi trucks – especially operating while drowsy. Fatigued driving is a severe violation of a driver’s standard of care that they are required to adhere to in order to safely operate a large commercial truck. In civil trucking litigation, a semi truck driver and their trucking company may be held legally liable for any harm or fatality that results from a negligent trucking accident. If you or a loved one has sustained serious harm as a result of a trucking accident, please contact a Chicago accident attorney to see what legal rights may be available to you.