Illinois Legislature Advances Bill to Impose Tougher Rules on Trucking Industry

We’ve discussed many truck accidents with unique causes. Many typical motor vehicle accidents are often due to driver negligence like speeding and failing to stop for a signal, or crashing under poor weather conditions, and while these are still factors for truck accidents, there is an additional and very significant factor that leads to many serious truck accidents: not abiding by federal and state rules set for the trucking industry.

Our governments have rules in place specifically mandated for the commercial trucking industry to follow to promote safety and protect everyone on the road. It is far too often that trucking companies order their drivers to drive too many consecutive hours straight without rest to get a job done, which endangers the lives of drivers and others on the road, and greatly increases the likelihood of a crash when drivers are fatigued. Oftentimes this occurs when drivers falsify their log books and drive many hours straight, causing them to fall asleep behind the wheel. It is important that the state and federal governments fight these actions of putting profit before the safety and welfare of those on the road with fatigued drivers.

According to a recent article by the Pantagraph, the Illinois Legislature has advanced a bill, House Bill 1516, to impose tougher rules on the trucking industry. The legislation specifically targets an increase in punishment for truck drivers who violate the rules and injure a person as a result. State Representative John Cabello of Machesney Park said this proposal would increase the penalty for truck drivers who cause great bodily harm or death to emergency responders in efforts to ensure that our law enforcement is protected. Dan Brady, of Bloomington, explained the legislation is aimed to cover all first responders and any pedestrian in a similar situation.

Echoing the deadly I-88 accident of winter 2014 that took the life of a tollway worker and permanently injured an Illinois State Trooper, such legislation could protect other highway and emergency workers from future similar accidents. Our attorneys believe that driving a large truck is a dangerous job to begin with, but when truck drivers and their employers don’t abide by the law, they increase the likelihood and overall numbers of dangerous and deadly truck accidents. Truck accidents often have devastating and widespread effects as a result of the sheer size and weight of trucks. They can victims to suffer serious injuries like broken bones, spinal cord damage, loss of limbs, or even death. Oftentimes victims and their families are not only left with extreme physical and emotional suffering, but extremely high medical bills and loss of income from missed work or permanent inability to work. With these accidents already being so dangerous, we as an Illinois community do not need a higher number of them where the accidents could be avoidable by the trucking industry simply following the rules and drivers not getting behind the wheel when fatigued. Stricter punishments under the law could set a legal example and prevent these accidents from occurring.

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