Articles Posted in Truck accidents

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The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s plan to make city trucks safer has been advanced in the Chicago City Council.  Chicago lawyer, Peter Zneimer observes that many fatal bike accidents that have occurred in the last few years in Chicago have involved trucks.  Visibility for bicyclist riding in traffic is always a major problem even for people driving automobiles.  The visibility of bicyclists is a much greater problem for truckers.  Almost all of the bicyclist accident cases handled by the attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer involve a motorist not seeing the bicyclist  prior to the crash either due to distraction, lack of attention or the bicyclist was in a blind spot.  Guarded bike lanes are the best solution but they are cost prohibitive to construct everywhere.

The Mayor’s proposes to require city trucks to install side guards, which cover the area between the front and rear wheels of a truck to make it harder for pedestrians or bicyclists to be caught under the wheels of the truck after a crash.  The ordinance would also require trucks to have additional convex mirrors.  The law would also mandate additional training for city employee truck drivers and contractors to improve safety awareness.

The one downside of the proposed law is that the ordinance would give the city almost ten years to make the changes on city trucks.  Contractors who do business with the city would get four years to make the safety changes on their trucks.

The Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of two lawsuits filed in connection with last month’s truck crash that took the lives of three pedestrians—30-year-old Elizabeth Peralta-Luna, and her two children, 4-year-old Dylan Peralta and 9-year-old Elizabeth Peralta—as they were attempting to cross a busy intersection on Chicago’s South Side.

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The Chicago Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of some justice handed down by the court in the state’s case against a trucker charged with several felonies in connection with a January 2014 crash that killed an Illinois Tollway worker, and severely injured a State Trooper. We must emphasize the word ‘some,’ in terms of justice though, given the quite disturbing circumstances surrounding this horrific wreck, and the inexcusable actions of the truck driver.

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The Chicago Trucking Accident Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of the ongoing debate over Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) Hour-of-Service regulations. In understanding where we stand now, it may be helpful to first understand a bit regarding the origination of these rules, and how they have developed over the past 8 decades.

In recognizing the correlation between driver fatigue and accident causation, the federal government first began limiting the number of daily and week hours, as well as rest period requirements in the 1930s. Over the next several decades, some revisions were made to the hours-of-service regulations, but many argued that such changes were ineffective in combating the issue of fatigued driving. It was not until recently—first in 2003, and then again in 2005—that any substantial changes to HOS rules were made.

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The Chicago Trucking Accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of a recent incident between a semi-tractor trailer and a passenger vehicle. According to reports, a minivan became embedded behind a semi-truck, and was subsequently dragged for miles, apparently due to the trucker’s complete and utter obliviousness of the fact that a collision had occurred.

As depicted in a highly disturbing 911 call, a minivan struck the rear-end of a semi-truck, as both vehicles northbound in white-out conditions, along I-75 in Michigan. In the van was a family of four—the husband-driver, his wife, and their two small children. In calls to 911, the wife states “We ran into the back of a semi-truck and he’s not stoppin’, and our car is embedded underneath of it,” followed by the husband stating “If the van breaks out from underneath him, I don’t have any control of this thing.”

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Statistical data demonstrates that the drivers of passenger cars and other motor vehicles, as opposed to truck drivers, are more commonly identified as the cause of trucking collisions. In addition, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passenger car occupants are nearly four times more likely than truckers to suffer fatality in such collisions. Consequently, the Truck Accident Injury & Fatality Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. find it beneficial to remind motorists of the dangers of sharing roadways with semi-tractor trailers, and more importantly the appropriate safety precautions to take.

While ideally it would be best if motorists could completely steer clear of big-rigs, we know this is nearly impossible. However, by understanding the manners in which truck accidents often occur, motorists are that share the roadway with these massive vehicles are better able to protect themselves from accident, injury, and fatality.

Tip #1 — Beware of Truckers that are Tailgating

The Trucking Accident Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of a recent investigation, as provided in a broadcast on ABC’s 20/20 regarding the deadly consequences of fatigued drivers, and the manner in which trucking companies contribute to these dangers through their negligent and unlawful practices.

As ABC’s Matt Gutman points out, “In 2012 alone there were over 300,000 large-truck crashed, with over 4,000 fatalities…the industry points out that truckers are not usually at fault in these accidents-but police do warn of a particular danger-tired truckers. While in some cases, it is the truck driver’s themselves that engage in risky behaviors, such as driving while fatigued, speeding or tailgating-in other cases, it is the trucker’s employer/trucking companies that are encouraging/supporting such recklessness. Consider both Truck Driver Negligence as well as Employer/Truck Industry Actions, as you view the following clip from the above-referenced ABC special:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/fatigued-truckers-deadly-consequences-25639370

As Trucking Accident Attorneys, we are well aware of the hazards faced by motorists who are forced to share our roadways with truck drivers that operate semi-tractor trailers. Big-rigs are massive, heavy, dangerous vehicles, capable of mass destruction, as was demonstrated by a tragic accident last month that took the lives of five innocent victims. Zneimer & Zneimer P.C., along with the victim’s family, and residents of our community are pleased to see justice being carried out, at least in the criminal sense, following reports of the truck driver’s indictment for reckless homicide.

As provided by the Chicago Tribune, the crash occurred on the afternoon of July 21, 2014, along Interstate 55, south of Arsenal Road, near Elwood. According to authorities, 51-year-old Francisco Espinal Quiroz was operating a semi-truck, when he crashed into three stopped vehicles. Heartbreakingly, four people were killed immediately due to the crash, and fifth victim died later at the hospital.

Amongst the victims killed as a result of the truck driver’s negligence was an 11-year-old child, Piper Britton, of Urbana. The remaining victims, all adults, were 43-year-ol Kimberly Britton, of Urbana; 54-year-old Vicky Palacios, of Coal City; 48-year-old Ulrike Blopleh, of Channahon; and 64-year-old Timothy Osburn, also of Channahon. In addition to the five fatalities, four other victims were hospitalized due to injuries sustained in the crash.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports an Illinois truck driver named Renato V. Velasquez has been criminally charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired or fatigued, making a false report of record and duty status, and driving beyond the 14 and 11 hour rules, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to yield to a stationary emergency vehicle.

Illinois State police Police allege Mr. Velasquez, the trucker, had been on the road driving for more that 36 hours when his truck crashed into emergency vehicles that had been stopped on the right hand lane and shoulder on I-88 near Aurora. The vehicles had been were helping with a broken down semi. Vincent Petrella, an Illinois Tollway worker who was on the scene helping out was killed and Illinois state trooper, Douglas J. Bader was critically injured. The 36 hours that Mr. Velasquez was driving far exceeded the federal time limits a truck driver is allowed to spend behind the wheel at one time. Truck driver’s shifts are limited to 14 hours with only 11 hours actually on the road under federal rules.

According to a Chicago Tribune story entitled “Did trucking rules fail?” that appeared on January 30, 2014, the United States government has tried for years to require that drivers use electronic logbooks which are harder to falsify than paper logbooks. Velazquez is accused of falsifying his paper log book.

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As reported by CBS Chicago, “One person was killed in a multi-vehicle accident after a school bus with nearly three dozen students on board collided with two other vehicles near north suburban Wadsworth.” Preliminary investigations revealed that the accident may have been caused because the school bus driver ran a red light, however as reported by the Chicago Tribune on April 30, 2013, Lake County prosecutors will not be pressing charges. Tragically, the driver of the motor vehicle which the school bus collided with suffered fatal injuries. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Lake County Coroner’s Office found evidence of prescription drugs in the deceased’s system, however the Coroner’s Office did not report which drug this may have been.
Although dozens of children were injured as a result of this accident, none of the injuries were reported to be life threatening. The bus accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., recognize that the severe nature of this accident, in which a school bus carrying 34 children rolled over on its side, presented circumstance that could have potentially resulted in numerous deaths. Fortunately, this was not the case. Our team of injury and accident attorneys support Chicago parents who demand the safeguarding of their children as they are placed in the hands of school bus drivers each day. If your child was injured or killed as a result of a negligent bus driver or other motorist, it is imperative that you protect your legal rights. Contact a licensed Illinois bus accident attorney today for a free personal injury consultation at (773) 516-4100, or through our website at www.zneimerlaw.com.