Truck Accidents

Illinois truck accidents and other facets of truck driving safety remain an important topic with regard to vehicle accidents in Cook County and elsewhere in Illinois.  As seen in the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) “2012 Illinois Crash Facts And Statistics” in 2012 there were 9739 total tractor-trailer crashes, of which 1633 involved injuries and 81 involved fatalities in Illinois.  Various truck accidents that happened in Cook County are summarized in posts found in the “Truck Accidents” category.

Of the 94 people killed in these fatal truck crashes, the breakdown was as follows:

  • 9 were classified as “tractor-trailer occupants”
  • 74 were “other vehicle occupants”
  • 8 were “pedestrians”
  • 3 were “pedalcyclists”

One facet of truck accidents is the safety of the truck driver.  Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussed the issue of truck driver safety in a Vital Signs report.  The March 3, 2015 press release is titled “Crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job death for truck drivers in the U.S.

Notable excerpts include:

About 2.6 million workers in the US drive trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds. After dropping to 35-year lows in 2009, the number of crash fatalities of truck drivers or their passengers increased between 2009 and 2012. Approximately 700 drivers of large trucks or their passengers died in crashes in 2012, and an estimated 26,000 were injured. About 65 percent of on-the-job deaths of truck drivers in 2012 were the result of a motor vehicle crash. More than a third of the drivers who died were not wearing a seat belt.

also:

“Using a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent injury or death in the event of a crash,” said Stephanie Pratt, PhD, coordinator of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. “The smartest strategy for overall safety is to prevent truck crashes from happening in the first place.  Employers can help prevent crashes and injuries through comprehensive driver safety programs that address other known risk factors such as drowsy and distracted driving.”

There is also an accompanying Vital Signs factsheet titled “Trucker Safety” (pdf) and subtitled “Using a seat belt matters.”  In this document, there are various facets of truck driver safety discussed, including statistics and illustrations.  “Large trucks” are defined as trucks having a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds, which includes fire trucks, garbage trucks, ambulances, car carriers, semi trucks, and dump trucks.

Among the information presented is “Three Big Risks To Truck Driver Safety.”   These risks are:

  • Not using a seatbelt
  • Drowsy driving
  • Distracted driving

Furthermore, the types of distractions for truck drivers are seen as “visual,” “manual,” and “cognitive,” with a short description of each.

“Text messaging,” a primary distraction for all drivers, is also prominently listed.

The document also discusses “what can be done” to increase truck driver safety, with a discussion segmented among various parties.

Additional details can be seen in the CDC documents listed above.