Chicago collision highlights growing problem of fatal truck accidents

Legal Articles | August 27, 2014

A recent truck accident near Chicago is an example of how fatal truck accidents are increasing.

When a truck accident happens, the possibility of a fatality resulting from the collision is much higher than a typical car accident, due to the superior size and weight of the truck. Recently, this fact was made painfully clear in a Chicago-area truck accident that occurred on Interstate 55.

During the accident, a semi-truck traveling 15 mph over the speed limit abruptly changed lanes and struck a vehicle, causing it to collide with two others. As a result of the tragic accident, four people were killed and four were seriously injured. According to investigators, truck driver fatigue was possibly a factor in the accident, as they found that the driver had falsified his logbooks to make it appear that he had been driving for a shorter period of time than he actually had.

Such accidents becoming more common

Unfortunately, this tragic accident is not an isolated event. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatal truck accidents have increased by 18 percent between 2009 and 2012 alone. Nowadays, approximately 11 fatal truck accidents occur each day, killing about 4,000 people each year.

Unfortunately, this trend of increasing fatal truck accidents is occurring as the number of trucks on the nation’s roads has decreased. FMCSA data shows that there are now 2.86 percent fewer trucks on the roads today than there were five years ago. In addition, today’s truck drivers are not driving as much, as the average annual distance traveled has declined by 2.67 percent since 2009.

Why then is the number of accidents increasing? Many experts believe that the cause can be found within the trucking industry itself. The job of a truck driver is one that involves low pay and long periods away from family. As a result, turnover is high; many companies have had trouble holding on to experienced drivers as the improved economy has increased the demand for trucking services.

Because of the high turnover plaguing the industry, the drivers that remain are often inexperienced and pressured to meet very strict delivery deadlines. Because of this fact, many are informally encouraged by companies to cut corners to ensure that the goods reach their destination on time. As a result, many drivers resort to illegal tactics such as falsifying logbooks, neglecting truck maintenance (e.g. brake servicing) and skirting safety regulations.

If in an accident, speak to an attorney

Sadly, by giving in to these pressures, truck drivers put other innocent motorists on the road at risk. Fortunately, under Illinois law, dependents of motorists that are killed by negligent truck drivers can recover the present and future losses brought on by their loved one’s death.

If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can work with accident investigators to determine whether driver negligence was a factor in the collision and help you obtain the compensation that you are entitled to.