Yesterday, Jacksonville.com reported that a 28 year-old woman has been killed in a tragic semi truck accident. According to the report, the woman was traveling on an interstate highway when she began to slow down to make a left hand turn. A commercial vehicle hauling a cargo of lumber failed to stop and rear ended the woman’s passenger vehicle. Upon collision, the woman’s motor vehicle burst into flames — subsequently resulting in her untimely death. The semi truck continued to strike an additional vehicle before ultimately overturning on the roadway. Both the driver of the commercial vehicle, as well as, the driver of the second vehicle that was hit by the semi truck sustained minor injuries. No charges have been filed and the accident remains under investigation.
When the driver of a large commercial vehicle follows another type of vehicle too closely, the risk for semi truck accidents resulting in injury or death significantly increases. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines following too closely as, “situations in which one vehicle is following another vehicle so closely that even if the following driver is attentive to the actions of the vehicle ahead, he/she could not avoid a collision in the circumstance when the driver in front brakes suddenly.” Given that commercial vehicles take significantly longer to stop than smaller passenger vehicles, it is no surprise that 5% of truck crashes occurred as a direct result of a commercial vehicle driver following a vehicle too closely.
In order to avoid following another vehicle too closely and prevent fatal accidents such as the one previously mentioned, our Chicago truck accident attorneys urge drivers of all types of vehicles to maintain a safe following distance and always increase following distance during adverse weather conditions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends that if you are driving below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length. When traveling over 40 mph, the FMCSA recommends that drivers should always leave an additional second. Additionally, given that braking distances can be significant affected by road conditions during adverse weather conditions, drivers should adjust their following distance to ensure the utmost safety.
If you have been injured in an Illinois semi truck accident or have lost a loved one at the hands of a negligent semi truck driver, please contact our experienced Chicago semi truck accident lawyers to see what legal rights and relief may be available to you.