Articles Posted in Survival Action

It is obvious that the height and weight of a semi truck is massive compared to the size of a typical passenger vehicle. When a semi truck is traveling in the lane next to a passenger vehicle on a highway or interstate, their size seems even larger and causes many drivers to feel anxious and intimidated. Recently, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Trucking Association, and the Illinois State Police have spoken out about the importance of commercial trucking on Illinois highways and released some basic tips for driving near semi trucks. Our truck accident law firm thought our readers would benefit from learning of these tips to help reduce the fear of semi trucks that many motorists have, as well as to help keep roadways safer for all vehicles.

-First, giving semi trucks enough room to travel on side roads and highways is essential. This is especially true when roads are congested due to traffic or construction. Give trucks room to change lanes, make turns at intersections, and to enter freeways through exit ramps, and remember that it takes additional time for semi trucks to complete these actions.

-Try to avoid making sudden lane changes, stops, or changes in speed when a semi truck is traveling immediately behind you. Because trucks take longer to stop, driving in a manner that a truck driver would not be able to anticipate could result in a chain-reaction collision or accident. Maintaining a safe distance from semi trucks will also help to prevent an accident.

Nearly 600 people have been killed in traffic accidents throughout Illinois so far this year, according to a source from WLS Chicago, and officials say distracted driving plays one of the largest roles in these fatalities. In an effort to prevent distracted driving accidents, Governor Pat Quinn has recently signed a law that will rid of one of the biggest driving distractions: cell phones. Texting and driving is already prohibited in Illinois, but now the state will join about a dozen others that also ban hand-held devices behind the wheel.

Under the new legislation effective January 1st, 2014, the use of hand-held devices is banned for Illinois drivers unless they use hands-free technology or pull off of the road to make a call. Calls can also legally be made in the case of an emergency. Fines for violating this law will start at $75 for first offenses and may rise up to $150 for repeat offenses. Moving violations on motorists’ driving records are also possible results, with three moving violations within a year leading to suspension of the driver’s license. WLS Chicago continues to state that distracted motorists who harm or kill others in an accident could be charged with fines up to $25,000 and up to three years of jail time.

Our personal injury attorneys recently learned of an Illinois accident in which a 46-year old victim was seriously injured after his truck was struck from behind by another vehicle. The driver of this vehicle had reached down to pick up his cell phone after it had fallen to the floor and consequently hit the truck. This accident is only one example of the many that occur each day due to cell phone distraction. In a statement made after implementing his new law, Governor Quinn said, “Too many Illinois families have suffered because of accidents that could have been prevented. Anyone driving a car should be careful, responsive and alert behind the wheel.”

Our personal injury attorneys often discuss the wide range of accidents that take place on Illinois highways, interstates, and larger roadways, as well as the outcomes these accidents have on the individuals involved. Interestingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Traffic Safety Report” released that in a recent polling, 97% of drivers feel that their safety is at risk when they are driving on smaller roadways, side streets, and intersections.

After looking into additional traffic safety statistics from NHTSA, we found that in 2010, there were more than 2.3 million reported intersection-related crashes throughout the country, resulting in more than 7,770 fatalities and up to 730,000 injuries. One of the biggest causes of these accidents happens to be one of the most dangerous and costly problems that exists on roadways today: red-light running.

Red-light running is a serious intersection safety issue, causing almost 1,000 deaths in 2010 alone. In fact, deaths caused by red-light running are increasing at more than three times the rate of increase for all other fatal crashes. It is important to note that half of the people killed in red-light running are not the signal violators, but rather the drivers and pedestrians that are hit by motorists that drove through red lights. Further statistics show that an average of 3.2 red light violations occur per hour, ultimately costing the public an estimated $14 billion every year.

Chicagotribune.com recently reported that two large flatbed trucks collided last week and caused a large fire on Interstate 90 near Barrington. Police say one of the trucks was southbound in the right-hand lane of the interstate around 9am when it attempted to merge into the lane on its left. In the process, another flatbed truck struck it from behind.

Drivers were shocked to travel past the huge clouds of black smoke and flames that consumed both of the trucks. Local fire departments rushed to the scene, one firefighter saying “It was all flames when I got there.” The flames were reportedly high enough to touch nearby utility wires stretching across the roadway. Leaking diesel fuel mixed with the water that firefighters used to douse the trucks caused a small fire that ran down the edge of the roadway. A firefighter working on the scene almost got trapped between the fire in the vehicles and the fire along the side of the road. The flames were large enough to completely destroy the cab of one truck and the engine compartment of the other.

Neither driver was injured in the accident, although an officer at the scene told reporters, “There are a lot of ways this could have been a lot worse.” The first flatbed truck had been carrying big pipes, machinery, and other equipment that could have easily caused more injury or damage. The second flatbed truck was issued a ticket for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. He allegedly told state police that he had put on the brakes, but too late to avoid the collision.

Our motorcycle accident lawyers have previously discussed how motorcyclists are too commonly victims of serious accidents caused by inattentive or negligent motorists, in addition to the steps drivers can take to avoid an accident with a motorcyclist. However, the tables were turned last Saturday when a semi-truck and motorcycle collision left the motorcyclist at fault.

Newlenox.patch.com states that the accident took place around 6:35pm on Interstate 80 near Harlem Avenue. Preliminary investigation results indicate a semi-truck was in the far right lane of westbound I-80 and collided with a motorcyclist that was entering the interstate from the southbound Harlem Avenue ramp. Illinois State Police say the motorcycle struck the front, right corner of the truck, causing the motorcycle’s driver to lose control.

The motorcycle driver was taken to a local hospital, his condition remaining unknown. His passenger, a 22-year old Joliet woman, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Will County Sheriff’s Office. The semi-truck driver remained uninjured. The report states that it is not known what exactly caused the collision, but police investigations revealed that the motorcycle driver misjudged his speed and distance away from the semi-truck when entering the interstate, therefore causing him to strike the semi and lose control. No charges have been filed or tickets issued as of last week.

In previous blogs, our attorneys have warned motorists of the many dangers associated with distracted driving. Whether an individual is drinking and driving, texting and driving, playing the radio loudly, or simply driving with a vehicle full of passengers, distractions can increase the risk of an accident occurring and therefore increase the risk of serious injuries to those involved. This was the case on Monday when a man was injured in a two-vehicle accident after taking his eyes off of the road.

Our personal injury law firm learned that the accident took place in Newman on U.S. 36 at 11:55am. According to News-gazette.com, a 21-year old man of eastern Illinois was driving west on the interstate, about a third of a mile west of Illinois 49, when he approached a Freightliner truck. State police report that the driver told authorities he had intended to pass the truck, but failed to do so once he looked down for a few seconds; when he looked back up, he realized he was too close to the truck and rear-ended it.

The driver was taken by ambulance to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana and is currently in stable condition. He was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The 61-year old truck driver remained unharmed. Both vehicles had experienced a significant amount of damage as a result of the collision, and police stated that both drivers were lucky to walk away from it.

With high summer temperatures bringing many regions of the country heat and humidity, staying cool during these times is critical in order to prevent serious injury or damage to one’s health. Although we hear about incidents every year when the summers comes around, a personal injury attorney at our firm was surprised to read a report about a woman who recently left her child in her car while the temperature was ninety degrees outside.

Cbs.local.com reports that the ten-year-old girl was left unattended in the parked car outside of a grocery store while the driver went shopping. Police say that an officer checking to make sure the fire lanes in front of the store were clear spotted the car illegally parked in the fire lane. When the officer looked closer, he saw that the car was running and the little girl was inside. When he spoke with the girl, she told him she had been waiting there for a very long time.

The report states that the 25 year-old driver was later ticketed for leaving the girl in the vehicle while she went shopping. According to police, this had been the sixth time last week that someone had been charged with leaving a child, dog, or a combination of both in a car, sometimes with temperatures higher than ninety degrees and the car windows closed.

A Greene County couple is dead after their motorcycle was read-ended at a traffic light on Saturday night. According to Kmov.com, the motorcycle was stopped in traffic, attempting to turn left onto Kane Road, when a pick-up truck crashed into the back of it. The motorcycle’s 46-year old driver and 42-year old passenger were both ejected from the vehicle. Authorities pronounced them dead at the scene and reported neither the driver or the passenger was wearing a helmet. The 21-year old driver of the pick-up truck was uninjured and was later charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. An accident reconstruction team was called to southbound US 67 at Kane road just after 7pm, and investigations into the crash are currently ongoing.

From the perspective of our motorcycle accident attorneys, motorcycle riders who are stopped for a traffic light or are traveling at a slow speed are at a very high risk for being rear-ended. This particular type of collision is especially dangerous and often traumatic for motorcyclists, who are more vulnerable than drivers inside of a car or truck.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Fatality Analysis Reporting System” found that cars and trucks are almost equally likely to rear-end motorcycles. It also found that frontal impacts and impacts with fixed objects are two of the most harmful events in fatal motorcycle crashes; even so, rear-ended collisions continue to lead to injury and fatality to drivers and passengers involved in the accident.

Rrstar.com reports that a portion of Interstate 90 was closed near Rockford last week when a dump truck hit an overhead sign on the road. The incident happened at about 6:50am between State Street and Harrison Avenue. Illinois State Police say that the truck’s bed was in an upright position when it hit the sign. Witnesses also say that the collision almost caused the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and change lanes. Luckily, no injuries were reported, and eastbound I-90 was closed as authorities inspected the sign. Westbound traffic was also closed so emergency equipment could be used to clear the accident scene.

Though this particular accident did not result in any personal injury, our truck accident lawyers have been informed of other accidents involving garbage trucks in recent months that were much more severe. For example, a 36-year old man of Chicago was struck and killed by a garbage truck in February, having suffered multiple blunt traumas. The driver of the truck was issued numerous citations for the collision. Additionally, a woman from Algonquin suffered serious injuries when her vehicle was struck from behind by a garbage truck.

Because garbage trucks seem to be a normal part of daily life for most, it is easy to dismiss them as dangerous; therefore, many individuals often fail to be cautious while driving or walking near them. Truthfully, these trucks have the capability to cause serious injury or fatality to anyone who comes too close. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), garbage trucks have the highest pedestrian killing rate on city roads. These vehicles’ large size, limited visibility, and proximity to sidewalks combine to create a pedestrian death rate that is nearly twice as high as what IDOT says is their next closest competitor, the bus. Specifically, garbage trucks kill nearly 24 pedestrians per 100 million miles driven. This number is quite large as compared to buses, which kill 14 people per 100 million miles driven, automobiles, which kill 8, and taxis, which kill 6.

Memorial Day weekend is just one weekend in May that makes many people feel like summer is just around the corner. There is unfortunately a correlation between the anticipation of the seasonal change and motorists and passengers wearing seatbelts less while traveling. Our accident attorneys learned that due to increased travel during the holiday weekend over the last few years, an average of 12.2 percent more traffic fatalities generally occurred than during comparable non-holiday time frames. Additionally, about 39,500 more injuries resulted from motor vehicle accidents. These injuries and fatalities were often due to drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts.

Thankfully, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s “Click it or Ticket” annual campaign was created a few years ago in order to increase seatbelt usage throughout the country. Because of the above statistics and injury rates, the most campaigning is usually completed before and on Memorial Day weekend. During this time, state and local law enforcement agencies crack down on motorists who are not wearing seatbelts. Chicago.cbslocal.com released that over the recent holiday weekend, the campaign saved an estimated 330 people. NHTSA states that the safety belt enforcement campaign was responsible for successfully contributing to the highest national safety belt usage rate of 85 percent.

Thirty-three states, including Illinois, have principal seat belt laws that allow police officers to ticket motorists or passengers for not wearing seat belts. In addition, sixteen states have secondary laws that allow officers to issue tickets to unbelted motorists or passengers only when there is a “citable traffic violation” at play. (Freep.com). Among primary law states, Illinois issued the most citations last year, a massive 74,364 as compared to Arkansas, for example, which had the lowest at 435. These numbers are presented as seen on NHTSA’s most recent “Click It or Ticket Evaluation Report.”

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers