Overturned and damaged semitruck in Illinois

Understanding the Causes of Trucking Accidents in Illinois

The Role of Driver Error in Trucking Accidents

When it comes to trucking accidents in Chicago, Illinois, driver error often plays a significant role. These errors can stem from a variety of factors, each contributing to the likelihood of an accident. Understanding these factors can help prevent such accidents and also aid in the legal proceedings that follow.

Fatigue and Drowsy Driving

One of the most common causes of driver error is fatigue. Long hours on the road, coupled with tight delivery schedules, can lead to drowsy driving. This state of fatigue significantly impairs the driver's ability to react quickly and make sound decisions, leading to potentially disastrous consequences. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that fatigue is a factor in 13% of commercial motor vehicle crashes.

Distractions and Inattention

Another major contributor to driver error is distractions. In the digital age, distractions such as cell phones, GPS devices, and even eating while driving can lead to a momentary lapse in attention. This lapse, even if it's just for a few seconds, can result in a severe accident. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, distracted driving is a factor in more than one in four crashes in Illinois.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense that can lead to severe accidents. Despite strict regulations and penalties, some truck drivers still choose to drive while impaired, putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. 

Impact of Vehicle Maintenance on Truck Accidents

While driver error is a significant factor in trucking accidents, the condition of the vehicle itself cannot be overlooked. Proper maintenance of a truck is crucial in ensuring the safety of the driver and other road users. However, due to various reasons such as cost-cutting measures or negligence, some trucks on the road are not in the best condition, leading to accidents.

Brake Failures and Tire Blowouts

Brake failures and tire blowouts are two common mechanical issues that can lead to severe accidents. These issues can arise from poor maintenance practices or the use of substandard parts. When a truck's brakes fail, or a tire blows out, the driver may lose control of the vehicle, leading to a potentially fatal accident. According to the FMCSA, brake problems contribute to 29% of all large truck crashes.

Load Shifts Due to Improper Loading

Improper loading of cargo can also lead to accidents. If a truck's load is not properly secured, it can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unbalanced. This imbalance can make the truck difficult to control, especially at high speeds or in adverse weather conditions. In some cases, the cargo may even fall off the truck, creating a hazard for other road users.

Mechanical Failures and Breakdowns

Mechanical failures and breakdowns, such as engine failures or transmission problems, can also lead to accidents. These issues can cause a truck to suddenly stop or lose power, creating a dangerous situation for other vehicles on the road. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent these issues and ensure the safety of the truck and other road users.

Weather Conditions and Road Hazards in Illinois

Illinois' diverse weather conditions and unique road hazards also play a significant role in trucking accidents. From harsh winters to construction zones, these factors can create challenging driving conditions, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Winter Weather and Slippery Roads

Winter weather in Illinois can be particularly challenging for truck drivers. Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can make roads slippery and visibility poor. These conditions require drivers to be extra cautious and adjust their driving techniques accordingly. However, not all drivers do so, leading to accidents. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, nearly 1 in 5 crashes in Illinois occur during winter weather conditions.

Construction Zones and Road Work

Construction zones and road work can also create hazards for truck drivers. These areas often have reduced speed limits, lane closures, and sudden changes in road conditions. If a driver is not paying attention or is driving too fast, they may not be able to react in time to these changes, leading to an accident.

Poor Visibility and Night Driving

Poor visibility due to weather conditions or night driving can also contribute to trucking accidents. Reduced visibility can make it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles, pedestrians, or road hazards. This is especially true for truck drivers, who have larger blind spots and longer stopping distances than other vehicles.

Regulatory Violations and Trucking Accidents

Regulatory violations are another major factor in trucking accidents. These violations can range from exceeding hours of service limits to not adhering to vehicle weight and size restrictions. Despite strict regulations and enforcement efforts, some truck drivers and companies choose to ignore these rules, putting everyone on the road at risk.

Hours of Service Violations

Hours of service regulations are designed to prevent driver fatigue by limiting how long a driver can be on the road. However, these regulations are often violated, either intentionally or due to pressure from employers to meet tight delivery schedules. When drivers exceed these limits, they become fatigued, and their ability to operate the vehicle safely is compromised.

Licensing and Training Requirements

Licensing and training requirements are also crucial in ensuring the safety of truck drivers and other road users. These requirements ensure that drivers have the necessary skills and knowledge to operate large commercial vehicles safely. However, some drivers may not have the proper license or training, increasing the risk of accidents.

Vehicle Weight and Size Restrictions

Vehicle weight and size restrictions are another important regulatory aspect. These restrictions are designed to ensure that trucks can safely navigate roads and bridges without causing damage or creating hazards. However, some trucks may be overloaded or oversized, making them difficult to control and increasing the risk of accidents.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident in Chicago, Illinois, it's important to seek legal help as soon as possible. At McNabola & Associates, LLC, we have the experience and expertise to navigate the complex legal landscape of trucking accidents. We will fight for your rights and work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.