Articles Posted in Driver Fatigue

State Police have recently reported the arrest of a truck driver who has been charged with multiple drunk driving charges after a traffic accident Monday night, according to Wgem.com. A Chicago truck accident attorney at our law firm learned that the driver of Roodhouse, Illinois was driving west on I-72 in Pike County just before 11pm when he drove his semi-trailer into a wooded area off of the road. After authorities arrived at the scene, the driver was taken to a nearby hospital, only having suffered minor injuries.

When later questioned regarding the accident, the driver stated he fell asleep behind the wheel. He was arrested for DUI, illegal transportation of an alcoholic beverage, improper lane usage, driving while fatigued, operation of a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence, and unlawful possession of alcohol in a commercial motor vehicle.

From the perspective of our lawyers, accidents involving semi trucks, trailer trucks, or other large commercial vehicles can result in personal injury and life altering consequences for not only the drivers of these trucks, but potentially other motorists and pedestrians on the roadway. Though the accident described above was fortunately a single-vehicle accident, it could have easily been prevented. There were clearly two primary factors at play that caused the truck driver to drive off of the road: driving while fatigued and driving under the influence.

Last month, an Illinois State Police trooper was killed when a semi truck collided with his squad car. According to Chicago.cbslocal.com, the 28-year old trooper was pulled over on the left shoulder of Interstate 294 near Willow Road in northwest suburban Northfield Township just after 11pm when he was hit behind by the semi. It was not clear why the trooper was stopped or if his vehicle’s emergency lights were on. Witnesses told investigators that they saw the semi, a United Van Lines truck, in the left lane before the crash.

After the impact of the collision, both vehicles burst into flames. Witnesses say it was hard to even make out the squad car among the tangled and burnt metal. A later autopsy determined the primary causes of the trooper’s death were thermal injuries from the fire, as well as inhalation injuries and minor head injuries. The truck driver walked away from the accident with nothing but a burnt hand.

As of a few weeks ago, the medial examiner’s office ruled the trooper’s death an accident and the semi truck driver was not charged with any crime or wrongdoing related to the accident. But now, our wrongful death lawyers have learned that after further investigation, recent reports obtained by Sun-times state the semi driver fell asleep behind the wheel before his vehicle veered out of its lane and struck the trooper. The trucker was initially issued a ticket for improper lane usage but it was dismissed soon after, according to a state police spokeswoman. Authorities are continuing to reconstruct the site of the crash to find out additional details relating to why the crash happened, and higher charges may result. Among the things that will be looked at are the trucker’s driving history, how many hours he had been behind the wheel without a break, and the results of drug and alcohol tests administered as required by state law after a fatal accident.

Cbslocal.com recently released that driver sideswiped a pick-up truck last Friday when tending to her newborn baby in the backseat. Our Illinois personal injury attorneys read that the 32-year old woman was traveling north on Interstate 294 when her baby began crying. She turned around to check on the baby when she suddenly lost control of the wheel and began drifting into the lane on her right. In the process, her SUV struck a pick-up truck at approximately 70 miles per hour. Both vehicles skidded into the far right lane on the interstate and stopped on the side of the road. Thankfully, the woman and her baby did not suffer from any injuries. The pick-up truck driver, a 45-year old man from McKenry, suffered minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital for precaution. Illinois State Police are currently investigating the accident.

In previous blogs, our lawyers have addressed the serious consequences that distracted driving can have on motorists, their passengers, and others on the roadway. According to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safe Kids USA, new moms may be among the most distracted drivers on the road. They often drive while fatigued, fail to pay attention to the speed limit, use their cell phones while driving, and tend to their children while driving, all of which cause them to take their attention off of the road.

NHTSA states that to avoid dangerous driving behavior, it is essential to always keep your eyes on the road and never use your cell phone while driving. Recent surveys show that 78% of new moms talk on the phone while driving with their baby on board and that 26% check their email or text. Keep in mind that no message, text or call is worth jeopardizing you and your baby’s lives, or the lives of any other motorist or pedestrian nearby. Additionally, avoid turning around and tending to your baby while you are on the road. The tendency to immediately turn to help a crying child may take only a few seconds, but the consequences can be severe. Instead, pull off the road, where and when it is safe to do so, and tend to the baby then. Finally, do not get behind the wheel if you are fatigued. Use good judgment when you feel as though you will not be able to drive due to exhaustion and lack of sufficient sleep. In essence, try to eliminate distractions that take concentration away from the road and aim to always drive safely, especially with a baby in the vehicle.

A Chicago truck accident attorney at our firm learned of the recent examination of an unexplained accident three months ago that claimed the lives of two drivers on Interstate 294. Dailyherald.com released that in early November, a driver on I-294 called the police after noticing a car stopped in the right southbound lane of the highway near Logan County around midnight. The report states that the vehicle, driven by a 32-year-old man of Glenview, was at a dead stop with no lights on and was causing a traffic hazard for other motorists.

Illinois state troopers later arrived to the scene and were shocked by what had occurred. A tractor-trailer had plowed into the back of the stopped vehicle at speeds over 70 miles per hour. It is reported that the truck was hauling a large load that caused his truck to stop so suddenly that the cabin was crushed forward. Police say the semi ran over most of the car and then went out of out control, traveled into the median of the road, and stopped in a creek bed. Both drivers were ejected from their vehicles and were pronounced dead at the scene.

The report states that as a result of the accident, a Logan County Coroner scheduled an inquest into the deaths this week. After being asked to describe the scene of the accident, the coroner stated, “It was really destroyed. The car was just a pile of rubble, and the semi wasn’t much better either. I’ve never seen a semi torn up like that. It’s just a sad thing, a really, really sad thing.” He said toxicology reports would be released soon, potentially yielding more information. The Illinois state trooper who investigated the incident is expected to testify. Family members of the victims hope to find out more about the unusual accident.

A truck accident lawsuit filed against an Illinois truck driver will move forward now that the Judge hearing the case has denied the truck driver’s motion for dismissal based on a lack of evidence. The lawsuit was filed in connection with a September 2012 truck accident.

The lawsuit against the truck driver relates to his involvement in an accident that killed a family of four when the car they were riding in was struck by another vehicle after the truck driver failed to stop in time to avoid a previous accident on the road he was traveling on. According to StarHerald.com, prosecutors are arguing that the truck driver acted recklessly because he had been on duty for over 15 hours at the time of the accident. Additionally, evidence has been presented indicating that the truck driver failed to notice emergency lights or radio alerts warning him of an upcoming accident on the road. According to eyewitnesses the driver did not slow down and brake in time to avoid the previous accident and this caused him to crash into stopped vehicles which lead to the crash that killed the family.

The United State Department of Transportation’s Federal Carrier Safety Administration has enacted rules and regulations designed to protect both drivers of commercial trucks and other passengers traveling on the road and to try to keep trucking accidents from happening. These rules and regulations include limits on how many hours a truck driver can be on duty. No commercial driver is allowed to be on duty for longer than 15 hours, which is what the truck driver in this lawsuit is accused of having done. This regulation, along with others, are intended to make sure that drivers are not on the road when they are too tired to be driving.

Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created new federal hours-of-service rules designed to limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate, and many trucking organizations were less than pleased. Our attorneys read a report released by World.einnews.com detailing the enforcement of these new rules, which as of last week, had led to litigation.

As our law firm has expressed throughout previous blogs, truck accidents have the potential to be extremely severe, causing many injuries and fatalities each year throughout Illinois and the country. The FMCSA states that Chicago drivers witness hundreds of trucks traveling the interstates in and around the Chicago-land area each day, given that the city is a major transportation crossroad. Thus, with such trucking activity, accidents are bound to happen.

The FMCSA continues to express that potential trucking accidents become even more likely with truckers driving long hours in order to meet deadlines. The report states that according to the administration, around 755 deaths and 19,705 injuries occur on U.S. roadways each year due to commercial drivers who are fatigued. Driver fatigue increases the risk of injury for truck drivers themselves and everyone else on the road.

An Illinois semi truck driver is currently facing severe consequences after his vehicle struck and killed four individuals due to driver fatigue. Suntelegraph.com released a report detailing the accident, which occurred when the 36-year old truck driver of River Grove, Illinois was westbound on I-80 last Thursday and slammed into the back of another car. The impact caused this car, driven by a 30-year old man, to crash into a nearby car, driven by his 28-year old pregnant wife and carrying his two young children in the backseat. This car was then propelled underneath a truck and trailer nearby on the roadway. All vehicles burst into flames, and all four family members in both cars were pronounced dead at the scene.

The semi driver currently remains in jail and will have a bond review hearing for $1 million. He is being charged with four felony counts of manslaughter and four more counts of vehicular homicide due to driver fatigue. The manslaughter charges carry penalties of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000 on each count upon conviction, and the motor vehicle homicide counts carry a sentence of up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000 on each charge upon conviction, according to the report.

Our Illinois truck accident attorneys learned that the driver’s truck company, AKI Trucking Inc. of Romeoville, has been in operation since 2010. Online records from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) reveal that the company’s recent Driver Fatigued Scores are notably alarming. During the last two years, the company has received a composite Fatigued Driving Score of 80.9%; the threshold allowed before FMSCA intervention is 65%. These percentages come from compilations of out of service violations or poor inspections. During a recent inspection, an operator was cited for failure to retain his previous seven days’ hours of service logs, as required by law. Incomplete logs often signal that a particular driver is operating his vehicle past the 14-hour service or 11-hour driving limit, per service day. The FMSCA will now possibly conduct an investigation of the company.

According to an online news report by TheSouthern.com, a Franklin County truck driver was seriously injured last week after his truck ran off of the roadway and crashed. Our Illinois truck accident attorneys read that the accident occurred at 1:24am on Friday along Raleigh Road in Saline County. Illinois State Police say the 32 year-old driver was injured after the truck and trailer filled with coal he was hauling veered off the roadway, struck two utility polls, and rolled on its side. The trailer spilled its entire load of coal in the accident.

The driver was taken to Ferrell Hospital in Eldorado by ambulance, later transferring to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. Police say he was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, but was cited for improper lane usage and texting while driving.

Our Illinois truck accident lawyers understand that accidents involving semi trucks, trailer trucks, or other large commercial vehicles can result in personal injury and life altering consequences for not only drivers, but also other motorists and pedestrians on the roadway. Though the accident described above was fortunately a single-vehicle accident, it could have easily been prevented. It is important to note that the accident occurred in the middle of the night, when driver exhaustion and fatigue commonly become a cause of distracted driving and failing to drive attentively on the roadway. Despite this already large risk for the driver, he was irresponsibly texting while driving, presumably becoming the cause of the accident by leading to even more distraction. Even worse, the driver was hauling an entire load of coal when the accident occurred. Accidents with cargo involved have the potential of causing very serious injury to the driver and other motorists if the cargo is detached or spills as a result of the accident.

Earlier this week, a Chicago truck accident lawyer at our firm read a news report detailing a life threatening semi truck collision. A semi truck driver currently remains in critical condition after his flower delivery truck rear-ended another semi truck on the Borman Expressway at approximately 2:48am on Friday.

Police say the accident left the driver trapped in the cab of his truck for more than three hours on the eastbound I-80/94 near Cline Avenue. Doctors and nurses from the University of Chicago Air Medical Network arrived to the scene within minutes and were shocked by the severity of the accident. After seeing the driver trapped in the cab of his truck, a flight nurse stated, “The truck was basically crushed on top of him. The steering column and the entire dashboard was into his chest and both of his legs were trapped.”

The report states that independent sources told NBC Chicago that crews had to amputate one of the driver’s legs from the calf down in order to extricate him from the cab of the truck. Emergency doctors on the scene later confirmed the severity of the driver’s injuries, stating that he wouldn’t have had a chance to survive if the doctors did not arrive when they did. “If he remained in the cab in the condition that he was in, his chances of survival would have dropped precipitously,” one of the doctors reported.

Sj-r.com recently released a report detailing the current examination of an unexplained accident two months ago that claimed the lives of two drivers on Interstate 55. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys read that at 11pm on the night of May 8th, a driver on I-55 called the police after noticing a car stopped in the right southbound lane of the highway near Logan County. The report states that the vehicle, driven by a 21-year-old woman of Chicago, was at a dead stop with no lights on and was causing a traffic hazard for other motorists.

Illinois state troopers later arrived to the scene and were shocked by what had occurred. A tractor-trailer, driven by a 67-year old man, had plowed into the back of the stopped vehicle at about 65 miles per hour. It is reported that the truck was hauling a load of Caterpillar counterweights, causing his truck and his entire load to stop so suddenly that the cabin was crushed forward. Police say the semi ran over most of the car and then went out of out control, traveled into the median of the road, fell off of a bridge, and landed in a creek bed. Both drivers were ejected from their vehicles and were pronounced dead at the scene. In addition, the car the woman was driving had later been reported stolen.

Our Chicago truck accident lawyers read that as a result of the accident, a Logan County Coroner scheduled an inquest into the deaths this week. After being asked to describe the scene of the accident, the coroner stated, “It was really destroyed. The car was just a pile of rubble, and the semi wasn’t much better either. I’ve never seen a semi torn up like that. It’s just a sad thing, a really, really sad thing.” He said toxicology reports will be released soon, potentially yielding more information. The Illinois state trooper who investigated the incident is expected to testify. Family members of the victims hope to find out more about the unusual accident.

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