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Waukegan personal injury attorneysDriving on any Illinois road exposes drivers to many dangers, among which is falling objects from trucks and other motor vehicles. Some of the products hauled in our streets daily include, construction materials, gravel, demolition debris, furniture, and many other kinds of cargo. It is not uncommon for some of these objects to become loose and fall off the trucks carrying them. It is therefore important to keep a safe distance and obey all other traffic rules to avoid these falling objects which can cause serious accidents or even death.

Federal and State Laws on Carrying Loads

Federal and Illinois state laws require drivers of flatbeds or any vehicle carrying a load to safely secure the load with devices that prevent the cargo from falling onto the roadway. The laws also prohibit tractor-trailers from being driven on any roads unless and until their cargo is safely secured and covered to prevent spillage or falling.

There are also laws that drivers and operators must follow governing transportation of hazardous materials to make sure these materials are not spilled or accidentally released. Spills involving hazardous materials can cause accidents leading to injuries and damage for those sharing the road and following behind.


Lake County truck accident attorney, truck accidents, truck crashes, Waukegan truck accident, semi-trailer trucksEvery driver shares the road equally, but they are not all equally safe when it comes to accidents. Crashes involving large vehicles can be especially dangerous, due to the size difference between semi trucks and regular passenger vehicles.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were approximately 415,000 truck accidents in the United States in 2015 (the most recent year statistics were available), with 3,598 of these crashes causing fatalities and 83,000 causing injuries.

Practicing Safety Around Large Trucks

Illinios accident lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illnois personal injury attorney,Truck drivers must have the proper training and education to operate tractor trailers. Trucks can weigh 20 times more than passenger vehicles and pose a great risk to other drivers and pedestrians. Because truck drivers are allowed to operate on the same roads as cars, it is critical that drivers are trained and properly credentialed. However, this does not always occur, and if it does occur, it may not be enough to keep everyone safe. In fact, a large percentage of accidents are caused by truck driver error.

Types of Driver Error

If the driver is at fault -- which is usually the case where the truck is found to have caused the accident -- there are several types of errors that usually can be blamed. (It may be the case that the truck is at fault, but for reasons outside of the fault of the driver, such as a faulty truck part or poorly loaded trailer.) Such errors include:
  • Non-Performance. Operator fell asleep or could not drive due to a sudden health issue like a heart attack or a seizure.
  • Recognition. Operator was distracted and failed to respond to a condition on the roadway. A distraction can be something inside or outside the vehicle.
  • Decision. Operator was speeding, misread the speed of other cars, drove too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles or made false assumptions about other car’s actions.
  • Performance. Operator overcompensated or froze.

Huge Shortage of Drivers

The trucking industry also has a major shortage of drivers. In 2015, the estimated shortage of drivers was estimated to be 48,000. If the situation does not improve, the shortage may increase in 175,000 drivers needed by 2024. Some safety experts believe that the shortage of drivers forces trucking companies to do minimal training and schedule drivers on routes above their experience levels. This can also cause drivers to be behind the wheel for more hours than allowed. Such situations can cause accidents that leave motorists with severe medical injuries and property damage.

Contact a Lake County 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer


Large trucks present special dangers to others on the road due to their size. Trucks usually weigh 20 to 30 times that of a passenger car. When truck accidents occur, the occupants of the truck are less likely to be hurt than those in passenger cars. In representing victims of truck accidents, our firm sees several common factors that contribute to truck wrecks, including:

  1. Driver fatigue. Due to demanding schedules, truck drivers are often overworked. Even though there are strict requirements about how long a driver can operate, drivers flout these regulations so that they can meet their deadlines.
  2. Improper maintenance or defective parts. Drivers and trucking fleets are responsible for regular maintenance. Tire blowouts are one dangerous condition that can occur if a truck is not properly serviced. Brakes are another part that must be kept in good repair.
  3. Distracted driving. Because of the length of time drivers must operate, driving distracted is a real risk. Whether talking on the phone or surfing the internet, such a habit can take a driver’s eyes off the road.
  4. Driver inexperience. Even though drivers must be properly licensed, such a license does not mean they have mastery of operating an 18-wheeler. Also, a driver may run into conditions such as rain or snow that he or she is not familiar with.
  5. Improper cargo loading. Loads must be properly secured, and truck trailers must be properly weighted. Also, trucks are sometimes overloaded making it harder to brake.

Dangers 18-Wheelers Pose to Others

It is important to understand that most fatalities in accidents involving tractor-trailers are the occupants of passenger vehicles. The size of the truck makes everyone else on the road vulnerable.


Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois truck accident lawyer,In January of 2014, two Ohio men were killed when a tractor trailer hitch failed and the 12-ton trailer the truck was hauling became detached. Both young fathers were traveling on the interstate when the trailer plowed into their vehicles. It took almost two years before the company that manufactured that trailer hitch finally admitted the trailer hitch was defective and issued a recall.

The Alabama company did not even begin investigating complaints about the hitch until 17 months after the fatal accident. According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the locking mechanism can erode over time and this causes the pin, which is supposed to lock the trailer and tractor together, to become loose. The company issued a recall for 6,800 hitches, which were sold to Daimler, Kenworth, Mack, Navistar, Kenworth, Peterbilt, and Volvo. The company stopped manufacturing this particular model in 2013.

One of the most common causes of truck accidents is defective equipment. National statistics show that 55 percent of trucks involved in accidents had at least one mechanical violation, and 30 percent of those vehicles had such damaged equipment prior to the accident, it should have been taken off the road immediately. The most common damaged or defective equipment were brakes, with 36 percent. Light systems failures came in as the second malfunction, with just under 20 percent.

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