Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Fatal Illinois truck accident Part I: Truck driver negligence

One of the stories dominating Chicago area news right now is the fatal truck accident that occurred early last week. Based on new accounts, truck driver fatigue is the likely cause of the devastating crash that killed a tollway worker and severely injured a state trooper.

We often write about both the dangers of drowsy driving and the importance of regulations meant to ensure that truck drivers take adequate rest breaks and do not work for dangerously long periods of time. According to the Chicago Tribune, the 46-year-old truck driver who caused the crash had been working for approximately 36 hours and operating on less than four hours of sleep.

The details of the case suggest that this crash would have been easily avoidable for any driver operating their vehicle safely. The two victims had parked their vehicles on the side of Interstate 88 near Aurora and activated their emergency flashers after stopping to assist another semi driver whose truck had broken down. Yet when questioned by police, the truck driver who struck the two victims claimed that he hadn’t seen the two vehicles.

The truck driver now faces several felony charges related to the fatal accident. Prosecutors say he had been violating hours-of-service regulations and may have been falsifying his driving logs.

While alleged fatigued driving appears to be the cause of the accident, research into his employer reveals that the trucking company he works for has a poor safety record. As such, the company could potentially face some liability in any future civil lawsuits. Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Prosecutors: Semi driver in fatal crash worked 36 hours with 3 1/2 hours sleep," Clifford Ward, Jan. 29, 2014

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