Articles Posted in Tractor/Trailer Accident

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The tremendous size of semi-trucks makes them ideal for hauling heavy loads of freight and materials all across our country. These vehicles help us deliver many of the goods that we take for granted in our day-to-day lives, and more than $600 billion dollars moves through this industry every year, so they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Even so, the enormous weight and incredible momentum carried by semi-trucks can prove extremely dangerous in the event of an accident. Statistics show that an astonishing 98% of all fatalities in trucking accidents are occupants of passenger vehicles, which goes to show just how powerful these tractor-trailers really are. (Legal-Info)
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If you’ve ever felt anxious driving next to a semi truck, you aren’t alone; the sheer mass of these enormous vehicles makes the prospect of any accident a nightmare scenario. According to statistics, truck accidents account for approximately 1/8th of all motor vehicle fatalities in the United States, but with annual revenues from the trucking industry ($610 billion last year) expected to nearly double in the next few years, the number of accidents involving these vehicles could be on the rise.
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A lot of large truck accidents occur every year in the United States, and these collisions can result in some of the most severe and long-lasting injuries we see as car accident lawyers. Additionally, these accidents can potentially result in fatalities that have devastating affects on families, both emotionally and financially. Last week, Illinois State police charged a trucker with vehicular homicide, and indicted the driver on additional charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and reckless driving, among others for his part in a four-vehicle crash that fatally injured a husband and wife on Interstate 81 last year.

In a news release from the Illinois State Police, officials said the 30-year-old truck driver was texting in stop and go traffic when his truck rear-ended a Chevrolet Tahoe stopped in front of him. The force pushed the SUV into the path of another tractor trailer, which then collided with a third semi-truck, resulting in a four car accident. The crash, which occurred near Interstate 81 Exit 57 in Silver Spring Township, closed down northbound lanes for more nearly 6 hours. One of the passengers in the Tahoe, a 64-year-old woman, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Her husband, the driver of the vehicle, was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries, but passed away two days later. The drivers of the involved semi-trucks sustained minor injuries. (ABC 27 WHTM)

The term trucking accident refers specifically to collisions involving large tractor-trailers, which weigh in excess of 10,000 lbs. Around 500,000 of these accidents occur in our country every year, and approximately 5,000 of them result in fatalities. The vast majority of the time, because of the sheer mass of semi-trucks, these fatalities are the drivers and passengers of other vehicles and that is why truck drivers and their companies have a responsibility to ensure that they are operating well maintained trucks and conducting themselves responsibly at all times. Driving while distracted no matter what the reason is extremely unsafe, and with advancements in technology, factors such as texting will be an increasingly prevalent cause of American traffic accidents. (Legal Info)

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At any one time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting dozens of research-intensive projects to make our lives safer. Last month, the agency announced that one such venture could yield more than $3 billion in economic profits, and prevent 300 fatalities every year, so we thought it might be worth looking into.

After years of research and evaluations, the NHTSA believes that crash-avoidance technology for large trucks could have enormous benefits to the public. The term “crash avoidance” denotes a wide variety of vehicle features, which are designed to help a driver operate their vehicle safely. Generally, this means monitoring the driver’s input, as well as the environment around the vehicle, scanning for hazards, and reacting to potential collisions to avoid collisions, or at least lessen their impacts.

A recent study conducted with the University of Michigan Research Institute estimates that the economic benefits of the measure could range from $900 million for older technology on heavy-duty trucks, to $3.1 billion if future technology is installed on medium and large sized trucks as well. The system, which has already sold 10,000 systems in its first year, is built on anti-lock brakes, using a combination of radar and software to alert a driver of an imminent collision. If the driver isn’t able to react in time, the system then automatically engages the vehicles brakes to lessen the impact of the crash. Meritor Wabco, the primary producer of the system says they expect to sell 15,000 additional systems this year, at a price of $2,400 each. (Transport Topics News)

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A Chicago truck driver was charged with four counts of manslaughter and 5 counts of vehicular homicide last week after a fatal crash on Interstate 80. (Chicago Tribune)

Police say that traffic on Interstate 80 was stalled when the driver’s rig struck several cars. One car, driven by a Maryland man, was struck from the rear, hurling it into another car carrying his pregnant wife and two children. All members of the family were killed.

With profits of well over $600 billion, the trucking industry is huge, and is expected to nearly double by 2015. (Legal-Info) This growth in commerce and trucking may be great for the economy, but as truck accidents such as these show, it could mean more danger for drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles.

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Over the weekend, CarmiTimes reported a serious accident involving a tour bus occurred, injuring several people. A group of people was headed to Chicago for a family reunion, including several children. In the accident, several children and adults were tossed from their seats when one of the bus’s tires blew out, forcing the driver to lose control of the automobile, drive off the road, and crash into a tree. A total of thirty-seven people were sent to the hospital.

A tire blow out is defined as a rupture that air escapes through to the point where the wheel and steering can no longer support the weight of the automobile, according to CarPartsPlus. When a tire blows out while driving, it can cause a serious problem especially when on the highway or interstate. The National Safety Council provides several tips that can be helpful when in this type of accident. Our Illinois car accident attorneys encourage drivers to follow these safety tips in case a blow out should occur.

An important thing to remember when a tire blows out is not to slam on the brakes, but instead let your car gradually reduce speed and coast to safety. If possible, move the automobile towards the emergency lane or towards the nearest exit. You should steer as your vehicle slows down so it rolls to a safe place. Try to avoiding stopping in traffic and to lower your risk of a rear-end accident or side collision. It is also important to turn the emergency flashers on in your car immediately.

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Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.-a group focused on investigating the best practices to keep consumers safe while behind the wheel-recently posted a blog story that raises doubts about the usefulness of underride guards installed on many vehicles.

These devices are built on the back of many large cars and trucks as a way of preventing other vehicles riding underneath the vehicle in a read-end collision. However, new research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that the currently mandated guards do little to nothing to improve safety for car and truck drivers.

Since 1998, the guards are required to meet a strength test when installed on certain trailers. Six years later the NHTSA began testing the usefulness of the strength requirement to determine if the strength requirements did in fact prevent certain deadly accidents. The results of that investigation reveal that the guards had little to no effect on safety improvement. The presence or non-presence of the guard had no statistical influence on car accident deaths or serious injuries. Conversely, factors like whether the collision occurred at a corner of a trailer versus directly behind it did statistically influence the seriousness of the accident.

A large factor in the problem may be that the Administration did not do enough to improve standards when it made strength requirements in 1998. The agency decided not to push the Truck Trailer Manufacturer Association’s too much, mandating only a very small increase in the product strength requirements.

Independent researchers have tested a much better product than the one currently required. Compared to underride guards in the U.S., these alternative guards do a much better job of protecting small cars from underride.

These superior safety devices have been tested literally for decades. Researchers have known of their improved effectiveness since the 1970s, but the changes have not been required on many vehicles in the U.S. While the trucking industry may benefit from not having to make changes to its vehicle fleet, the vast majority of drivers suffer a higher risk of potential injury if caught in a rear-end crash.
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A truck driver was cited for failing to stop his truck after he rear-ended a pick-up truck, leading to a chain-reaction accident involving two other cars. The accident took place roughly 100 miles from Chicago. The truck driver failed to stop and smashed his tractor trailer into the pick-up, causing it to crash into a Jeep which then collided with a Toyota Scion. No serious injuries were reported in the crash; however the pick-up driver and a passenger in the Jeep were both taken to a nearby hospital. A report also noted that narcotics were found in the semi driver’s possession. Read the full account of this truck accident.

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A car and truck were involved in an accident on April 15 that left one woman seriously injured and two others with minor injuries. The accident took place along I-55 in Maucopin County. According to a report in The Telegraph, the woman who was critically injured was a passenger in a vehicle that swerved in front of a tractor trailer towing a box truck. The critically injured woman was removed from the vehicle by emergency workers and taken to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, IL. Two children who were also in the vehicle suffered minor personal injuries in the accident. The article did not elaborate on why the driver swerved into the path of the truck. Read the full story of this car accident by clicking on the link.

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A Chicago Fire Captain was killed on the Tri-State Tollway near Hindsdale, IL when his Ford Focus touched another moving vehicle and sent his car careening into a tractor trailer parked on the side of the road. Witnesses of the car accident say that the victim and the driver of the other car were seen driving aggressively shortly before the accident. The driver of the other car did not suffer any injuries.

Read about this tragic crash.