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McHenry County personal injury attorneyTruck accidents are common on the roads in Illinois, and they can occur very suddenly. Many times, drivers of smaller vehicles are left with serious injuries without even knowing how the truck accident happened. It is true that the cause of an accident is not always easily identifiable, and it often requires an extensive investigation. An experienced personal injury attorney can conduct this investigation and collect evidence to help you claim the full compensation you deserve. Below are some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Illinois.

Drowsy Driving

Truck drivers must meet very tight shipping deadlines, and to do that, they need to be on the road as much as possible. Federal regulations outline the hours of service during which a truck driver can remain on the road, as well as when they must take breaks. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore that rule in order to meet their deadlines. Other times, a trucking company may actually offer incentives for drivers to ignore those rules. When this happens, truck drivers can become fatigued and make mistakes that result in an accident.

Impaired Driving

For many, it is unfathomable that anyone would drive while impaired, much less the driver of a commercial truck. Unfortunately, truck drivers do sometimes get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, perhaps even thinking that these substances will help them stay awake. Impaired driving is always very dangerous and reckless behavior. When truck drivers engage in this behavior, it causes some of the worst truck accidents.

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Illinois Police Warn of Danger from Trucks that Bypass Weigh StationsThe Illinois State Police is responding to what it believes is a significant number of truck drivers who avoid the mandatory weigh stations along Illinois highways. Officers are stationed near weigh stations, watching for trucks that do not pass through the weigh stations or violate other traffic laws. “Operation ByPass” is currently focused on Illinois State Police District 5, which includes Grundy, Kendall, and Will counties. Drivers across Illinois are at risk of personal injury from being in a crash with a commercial truck that is over the weight limit.

Problems with Overweight Trucks

Illinois requires trucks to go through weigh stations because a truck that is over the weight limit could cause damage to bridges and overpasses. The maximum allowable weight depends on the number of axles and the length between them. No truck is allowed to weight more than 80,000 pounds. Overweight trucks are also dangerous to other drivers on the road and can increase the risk of accidents. Because of their size and weight, trucks normally have more difficulty:

  • Maneuvering;
  • Making wide turns;
  • Coming to a quick stop; and
  • Maintaining control when going downhill.

These driving problems increase as a truck gets heavier. When a truck is over the weight limit, its response time will be slower than other drivers normally expect from a truck.

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Building a Case After a Truck AccidentBeing involved in an accident with a truck is both frightening and perilous if you are driving a smaller vehicle. Victims can suffer serious or even fatal injuries because of the force of colliding with a such a large object. Pursuing personal injury damages will help you afford the recovery treatments you need, as well as compensate you for your pain and suffering. However, building a personal injury case involving a truck is different than with other vehicles.

Crash Causes

Driving a large truck requires greater skill and caution than with a normal-sized vehicle. A truck takes longer to stop, has larger blind spots, and needs more space from other drivers when making turns or changing lanes. Drivers have more difficulty avoiding an accident with a reckless truck driver because of the length of the vehicle. The truck driver may have been at fault for your accident if he or she:

  • Was driving too fast;
  • Did not apply the brake in time to stop from rear-ending your vehicle; or
  • Changed lanes without consideration for other vehicles.

To prove that the truck driver was reckless, you will need to recount how the driver was behaving before the accident, his or her actions that put you in danger, and how you responded. A witness may have had a more complete view of the circumstances that led to the crash and be able to corroborate your account.

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New Truck Regulations May Help Other DriversRoad accidents involving large trucks can be catastrophic and deadly, especially for drivers of other vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,852 people died from accidents involving trucks in the U.S. in 2015. That number is down from peak levels of more than 6,000 deaths per year in the 1970s, and lower than the number of fatalities in the mid-2000s. However, the number has steadily risen each year since 2012.

In an attempt to ultimately decrease those fatality numbers, the federal government has mandated that commercial truck carriers start using Electronic Logging Devices in their trucks.

  • Drivers that use paper logs and logging software must switch to an ELD by Dec. 18, 2017.
  • Some drivers already use Automatic On-Board Recording Devices that work similarly to ELDs but may not be up to the same standards. Those drivers have until Dec. 16, 2019, to switch to an ELD.

The ELD automatically records the vehicle's active hours, miles driven, movement and location. The devices are supposed to make companies more efficient in tracking their drivers, which will hopefully lead to increased safety for the truck drivers and others on the road. All drivers on the road may benefit from the regulations in a couple of ways:

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truck accidents, personal injury, law firm, fatigue, truck driver negligemce, Illinois Truck Accident LawyerAccording to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 3,744 fatal large truck accidents and 88,000 injury crashes in 2014. A statistical analysis on the causation of truck accidents revealed that a concerning percentage of these crashes could be attributed to speeding, driver fatigue, and alcohol use. Disturbing as this information is, it highlights just how important it is for victims and their families to understand their rights after a semi accident.

Semi Drivers Should Be Held to a Higher Standard

All drivers should behave responsibly while behind the wheel, but semi drivers are (and should) be held to an even higher standard of safety. Their ability to cause death or injury is greater than that of other drivers and they are regulated by governmental standards. Yet the analysis reveals that semi drivers sometimes fail to adhere to the regulations, and all too often they behave in negligent ways that place every other road user at risk.

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