It has been an unfortunate trend in the news as of lately to hear stories of accidents involving truck drivers who are both driving fatigued and falsifying their log book records, thereby fraudulently driving over the permitted amount of hours. As a result of this negligence and recklessness, many innocent people have suffered personal injuries and untimely deaths. Like the incident that happened this past winter on I-88 in Aurora, another similar incident of falsified log books has occurred in the Chicago area.
According to an article by NBC Chicago the Illinois State Police reported that a semi-truck driver was going faster than the posted construction site speed limit and slammed into a car. This caused a chain reaction crash with three other vehicles and another semi-truck. As a result of this accident, four Illinois residents were killed and four others suffered personal injuries. Several required being extricated from the crashed vehicles, and one was airlifted to the local hospital.
According to the same article, the driver of the tractor-trailer was charged and now held on a $1 million bail. He was charged with falsifying his log book, willful violation of a log book, and failure to reduce speed. He had started work at about 2:30 a.m., not 6:30 a.m. Furthermore, this individual had a history of traffic violations going back to 1991, including three for speeding and others for driving without a valid license and other commercial vehicle violations.
This accident leads many to question why this driver, who has a record of being reckless, was permitted to operate a commercial vehicle and pose a danger to others on the highways. Not only did he have a history of violations that posed safety hazards to many on the roads, but despite his many run-ins with the law, this driver has continued to present a threat through falsified log books and excessive speeding.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates hours of service rules, known as the HOS Regulations, for commercial truck drivers. Those who must follow these rules typically include drivers of a commercial motor vehicle (a CMV). A CMV is defined as a vehicle used as part of business and involved in interstate commerce. They can also fit any category including weighing 10,001 pounds or more, a gross weight rating or gross combination rating of 10,001 pounds or more, designed to transport 16 or more passengers not for compensation, designed to transport 9 or more passengers for compensation, or transports hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards. These rules also mandate an 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day limit for drivers of a CMV. Furthermore, as of July 2013, new provisions mandate that the maximum average work week for truck drivers be 70 hours, which was a decrease from 82 hours. It also requires drivers to a take a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of a driving shift. The rule also allows truck drivers who reach the maximum to resume work if they rest for 34 consecutive hours.
Our attorneys support these rules that have been put in place to protect both employees who drive a CMVs and others who share the road. These rules were designed to keep drivers from fatiguing and to prevent truck and motor vehicle accidents caused by driver exhaustion.
When truck drivers and employers are negligent or even fraudulent with driving log books, it places others in harms way and can lead them to suffer serious injury or even death. If you have been catastrophically injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and suffering through a lawsuit. Our attorneys would be happy to discuss your potential case with you in a free consultation, so do not hesitate to give us a call.