Truck accidents are unfortunately not only common in the Chicagoland area but throughout the state. Illinois is a major hub of businesses and therefore has many routes for transportation of goods and services. With so many business operations, most companies rely on large trucks to transport materials and goods. Unfortunately with this traffic comes an increased risk for truck accidents involving serious personal injuries or deaths.
According to an article by Fox2Now, two individuals were killed when the semi-truck in which they were riding slammed into a highway overpass. The accident occurred outside of New Baden, Illinois on Interstate 64.
Investigations as to the causes and factors for this truck accident are still underway. Preliminary research and reports from witnesses indicated that driver fatigue may have been a factor. Authorities think that the truck driver may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. Witnesses reported to the police that the truck had veered to the left and then veered to the right before hitting the overpass at a full speed.
Driver fatigue is a serious safety issue for all drivers but of particular concern to trucking companies and drivers themselves due to nature of the industry. According to the National Safety Council, those are the highest risk of accidents from driver fatigue are third shift workers, long haul drivers and those with sleep disorders or who are taking medication that can make them drowsy. Many truck drivers fit within those first two categories and drive late into the night and early morning, logging many miles on their shifts.
Similar to drugs and alcohol, driver fatigue is dangerous because it slows reaction time, decreases driver awareness, and impairs judgment. Furthermore, also according to the National Safety Council, statistics show the increased dangers due to driver fatigue. Death rates based upon mileage were 3.2 times higher at night than during the day, for the year of 2007. Also, a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sowed that 37% of drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel during a time in their career, and 8% of these people admitted to doing so within the last six months. Additionally, the majority of this fatigue occurred on interstates and highways; 60% of the drivers stated that when they fell asleep, it was on a road in which they were driving at least 55 mph.
For years the trucking industry has been trying to find a balance between performance and safety. Trucking companies impose deadlines and goals for truckers in order to increase efficiency and profit. This can force drivers to work longer hours on less sleep to meet the demands of their employers. Federal laws dictate how many hours a truck driver may be in service, however oftentimes trucking companies push truckers to the limits or drivers overextend themselves. Our attorneys encourage all truck drivers to be well-rested when they get behind the wheel in order to protect themselves and others from dangers on the roadways and interstates. When a truck loses focus, catches themselves drifting, or finds themselves yawning excessively, it is time to pull over and take a break. Taking precautions could save lives and prevent a truck accident from occurring.