Collisions between commercial trucks and other vehicles often have tragic results. The most recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data from 2016 found that 4,564 people died that year in a total of 4,079 collisions involving large trucks and buses. Commercial motor vehicle accidents accounted for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities. Illinois ranked among the 10 states with the highest average number of fatal truck crashes from 2014 to 2016.
With interstates that wrap around the Chicago area and thousands of tractor-trailer trucks navigating them every day, danger often lurks, and drivers are regularly injured in truck accidents. Here are some of the leading causes of semi-truck accidents, as cited in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Large Truck Crash and Causation Study:
Truck drivers are already at a disadvantage when slowing down and stopping, because the air brakes on semi trucks and their vehicles’ size and weight mean that it takes much longer to come to a complete stop when compared to smaller cars and trucks. This problem is compounded when inappropriate vehicle maintenance fails to address air leaks, and improperly functioning brakes can prove fatal.
Driving too fast for conditions increases both the likelihood of a crash and the severity of injuries sustained in a collision. Under ideal conditions, it can take a tractor-trailer the distance of nearly two football fields to stop. When truck drivers speed, their ability to effectively react to situations in front of them or to their side is greatly diminished.
Prescription Medication Use
The country’s opioid crisis has hit the trucking industry hard. While illegal drugs and alcohol cause some truck accidents, the numbers do not come close to those caused by over-the-counter drug use and abuse. Because these medications quickly exit the user’s system, they rarely show up on random drug tests.
While regulations have reduced the excessive demands placed on drivers by their employers, truckers still often drive up to 70 hours in an eight-day period. Many truck drivers battle sleep issues during mandated rest periods, and drowsy driving remains a frequent reason for truck crashes.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Truck Collision Lawyer
Passenger vehicle occupants can face dire consequences when a large truck collides with them. The trucking issues listed above can all involve negligence on the part of the driver and the company they work for. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck collision, you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced DuPage County truck accident attorneys at Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered Attorneys at Law can help prove who was at fault and work to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 630-462-1980 for a free consultation.