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Who is the responsible party for this fatal Chicago truck crash?

Posted by David Nemeroff | Oct 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

Just this morning as I was reading the news online, I came across an article on a fatal Chicago truck crash. On Monday a fatal truck accident killed a 10-year-old Island Lake boy. His twin brother also sustained serious injuries. The 10 year old victim was Griffin Shirey. He was killed when the Lincoln driven by his father, was hit by a flatbed truck. The fatal car crash occurred at the intersection of Route 12 and Old McHenry Road in Wauconda. According to police, the driver of the Lincoln, was making a left turn onto Old McHenry Road when the truck t-boned the Lincoln. Two other vehicles were also struck by the truck.

According to police, there is no evidence distracted driving. Several witnesses did report that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed. They also reported that he failed to stop at a red traffic signal. Currently, no charges have filed against any of the drivers involved Monday's fatal car crash. The accident scene still remains under the Sheriff's investigation. The truck driver was taken in for questioning and released. All drivers involved in the fatal auto accident submitted to a DUI test. The truck driver also provided a urine sample.

It was reported that the flatbed truck was carrying a load of roofing shingles. The question that comes to my mind, was the truck over loaded? An oververloaded truck can be a danger on any road. When a truck is overloaded, it is carrying additional weigh causing it to have greater momentum. When trucks have increased momentum and are traveling at high rates of speed it can cause problems with reaction timing. Ordinary driving maneuvers can be made more complex. Such maneuvers can be to stop suddenly or swerving to avoid a road hazard. Additional problems associated with overloading can be brake failure or difficulty and inability to steer. Inability to react in a split second can lead to a catastrophic crash.

Current truck laws dictate the maximum weight a commercial truck can carry. As you drive on the highway, one can see the Weigh stations. It is at these stations that vehicles are weighed and inspected. Typically at a Weigh stations, several inspections can occur. The commercial trucks are weighed. Cargo is inspected for illegal or falsely reported cargo. The HOS book is checked for compliance with Hours of Service laws. Even with these Weigh Stations in place, if a violation is found, the truck driver is usually issued a ticket. The truck driver is then permitted to return to the highway, carrying a dangerous weighted load. In some circumstances the driver may be detained, and an overweight vehicle permit will be issued.

The weight limit on a commercial truck is 80,000 pounds. That is 20,000 pounds per axle or 34,000 pounds per tandem axle. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ) rules and regulations individual states are allowed to set weight limits for commercial trucks. States are also responsible for enforcing those weight limits.

In my experience as an Illinois truck accident lawyer, ineffective enforcement of these weight provisions has led to conditions that contributed to the number of truck accidents on our roadways.

Listed below are some reasons why an overloaded truck can be involved in an accident.

  • Burst tires
  • Traveling too slow can be a hazard to approaching vehicles especially in blind spots
  • Traveling too fast
  • Brake Failure
  • Inability to stop
  • Roll over
  • Steering difficulties

As a Chicago truck accident lawyer, I realize that there may be multiple parties who share responsibility for an accident. In most instances the truck driver is responsible, but other parties can include:

  • Commercial Trucking companies
  • Commercial Truck loading companies
  • Government Agencies

Overweight trucks on highways and roadways pose a serious danger to other drivers. Our safety depends upon the states enforcement of the existing truck weight laws. If trucking companies, truck loading companies, truck drivers continue to allow these trucks on the road, we are all in danger.

About the Author

David Nemeroff

In January 2012, David Nemeroff was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the entire state of Illinois (out of 83,000 lawyers) by Super Lawyers Magazine...

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