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NTSB Examines Chicago Crash that Took the Life of a Tollway Worker

Last January, our lawyers were shocked and saddened by news that an Illinois toll way worker’s life was needlessly ended as the result of an accident involving a fatigued truck driver. A state trooper was assisting a tollway worker in the right-hand lane of eastbound I-88 near Eola Road when another semi went off the road and crashed into them, causing a fire that engulfed the two individuals. The trooper suffered serious injuries and the tollway worker died as a result of this crash.

Now, the National Transit Safety Board has issued its preliminary findings about the suburban crash, reported in a recent article by the Chicago Sun-Times. According to the report, the tollway worker was the first Illinois Tollway employee killed on the job since 2003. Senator Durbin originally called for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to investigate the accident to determine if the driver and his employer violated rules limiting the number of hours a driver can be on the road and to take steps ensuring every trucking company complies with the law. . The driver was charged with four felony counts of operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired or fatigued, making a false report of a record and duty status, and driving beyond the 14- and 11-hour rules.

The report further noted that the driver at fault had worked 37 straight hours. Upon being informed of this news, authorities once again stressed the importance of complying with the laws. Hours of service laws tied to the trucking industry are extremely important to ensure that are roadways are safe. When commercial drivers have worked for too many hours straight without sleep or a break, they lose their focus and become overly fatigued. This often leads to falling asleep behind the wheel, causing drivers to lose control of their trucks and colliding with individuals and other vehicles. These are truck accidents that should never have to occur if adequate caution and safety measures are taken by drivers and their employers. Instead, investigations have revealed that instead of abiding by the law, some employers are putting profit before human life by making drivers lie in the log books so that they under-report their hours and drive longer than allowed under the law in order to do more business.

Our attorneys agree with lawmakers that business should never take priority over safety and human life. When drivers and their employers choose not to follow the law, they put the lives of others at high risk of serious injury or death, and this is needlessly reckless. If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries as a result of the negligent actions of a truck driver or reckless management by a trucking company, you can seek legal help to hold wrongdoers accountable.