Let’s get down to the specifics. When our lawyers use the term large truck accident, we are attempting to describe collisions involving one of two vehicles, either a single or combination unit truck. A single unit truck is constituted by only one section, while a combination unit consists of a truck pulling one or more trailers behind it. According to federal commercial vehicle maximum weight standards, these mammoth vehicles are permitted to carry up to 80,000 pounds of gross weight. With mass like that it is easy to see why 98% of all fatal accidents involving large trucks claim the life of occupants riding in other passenger vehicles, and why truck accidents also account for 22% of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple vehicle collisions throughout the United States. Most large trucks spend the bulk of their time on highways, but that doesn’t mean that Chicagoans are immune from these accidents in the city. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Highway Loss Data Institute)
Yesterday, two women were injured in the Loop when a Chicago Fire Department fire truck struck their vehicle in route to a call. According to the department officials, the fire engine had its lights and siren activated and was attempting to pass through the intersection of Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive when it collided with the vehicle. The Chicago Fire spokesman said that all vehicles appeared to have been stopped, but when the two women failed to stop, their larger vehicle was not able to stop in time. The women were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and were initially listed in serious-to-critical condition, but have since had their conditions stabilize.
Last year alone, more than 3,000 people lost their lives in traffic collisions involving large trucks. However, it is important to remember that these accidents are not always the fault of the larger vehicle. As is the case with motorcycles and bicycles, smaller passenger cars need to respect their larger counterparts and vise versa. If you are around a large vehicle, keep this article in mind; large trucks carry a huge amount of mass, and this makes it very difficult for their drivers to stop or swerve if a car darts in front of them unexpectedly. By signaling and making smooth lane changes around trucks, you can keep yourself and everyone around you a little safer. If both passenger cars and trucks use this kind of caution and practice responsible driving on a regular basis, we can eliminate many of these fatalities altogether.