Fatal Truck Crash on I-80 in Illinois Shows Why the Bulk of Trucking Accidents Occur in a Handful of States
Most drivers realize that the risk of experiencing a truck accident varies with an array of factors present in the local area. Factors like a concentration of manufacturing and distribution facilities and interstate highways that run through an area can significantly increase the amount of commercial freight traffic in an area. As one can probably deduce, a greater number of trucks in an area increases the risks of being involved in a serious accident with a commercial vehicle.
As such, Illinois is one state where the number of accidents seems disproportionate to the population and area. However, Illinois is home to both manufacturing business and major interstates such as I-80 that connect the east coast of the United States with the west coast. Therefore, a significant number of commercial vehicles travel through the state annually. In fact, there have been nearly 600 fatalities caused by a large commercial truck in Illinois during the past five years. A recent accident on I-80 shows why there are concentrated pockets of trucking accidents in the United States.
Three Are Killed in I-80 Crash and Fire
On Monday, August 1, 2016, three people were killed in a multi-vehicle pile-up involving both commercial and passenger vehicles. The accident involved three tractor-trailers, a straight truck, a tire hauling truck, and a passenger vehicle. Two of the vehicles involved in the accident burst into flames following the initial impact. Two of the fatalities were attributed to the occupants of the passenger vehicle while the third fatality was the driver from one of the tractor-trailers.
According to reports from the scene of the accident, the aftermath of the crash as described as “accordion-like” Essentially, a number of trucks were involved in a chain-reaction accident where vehicle-after-vehicle hurtled into the vehicle in front of them. The first vehicle in the string of crashed trucks was a tractor trailer with Utah license plates registered to a company called Mile Hi Specialty Foods. Smashed in the middle of the pile-up were trucks from Allstar Trucking in Channahon, Ill. and a smaller truck from a Midwest tire company called Tredroc.
The accident occurred near Ottawa, Illinois which is roughly 80 miles from Chicago. The accident occurred in LaSalle County which has the most fatal trucking accidents in Illinois.
One of the Involved Trucking Companies Has Numerous DOT Citations
While details regarding who was at fault in the accident have not yet been released, one of the companies involved in the crash has a spotty safety record. The company, Mile Hi Specialty Foods of Denver, Colorado, has been in business for more than a century and frequently hauls goods and supplies for prominent national brands. However, according to U.S. Department of Transportation records, the company was cited in June for falsely reporting an operator’s hours of service. The company was also cited for allowing a disqualified driver to work as a vehicle operator for the company.
How Can Commercial Drivers Minimize the Risk of Commercial Trucking Accidents?
There is no single silver bullet that will improve trucking safety. However, most solutions start with establishing a safety conscious culture at trucking firms. Trucking firms that establish a strong culture of adhering to rules and safety regulations, such as hours of service limits and driver logging requirements, frequently experience fewer accidents than firms that push the limits of human or mechanical endurance.
However, a robust company safety culture alone will not prevent all accidents. Drivers and commercial operators of vehicles must also buy-in to safety requirements. For instance, drivers must routinely submit to medical exams to ensure that they are fit to drive commercially. However, these medical exams rely heavily on the information provided by the driver him or herself. As such, drivers may be tempted to forget to mention key details, such as sleep apnea or other medical conditions, that could render the driver unfit to operate a commercial vehicle.
Hurt in A commercial Trucking Accident?
If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a commercial trucking accident, the lawyers of Reiff & Bily’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to fight for compensation for you. To discuss your accident that may have been caused by a drowsy driver, a drunk CDL driver, or an unsafe vehicle call our firm today at 800-896-6173.