The Chicago area is one of the heaviest traveled corridors in the country for commercial trucks. With so many big rigs on the road, the danger from distracted or fatigued truck drivers is a constant reality.
The data on shows how accidents caused by these negligent drivers adds up, one Chicago truck accident at a time.
To take just one example, consider a recent investigation by the Northwest Times into federal statistics on accidents in 10 south suburban municipalities in Illinois and in Lake and Porter counties in Indiana.
The statistics show that, in this part of Chicagoland alone, there were 8,043 crashes involving heavy trucks from 2000 to 2008. A total of 218 people died in these crashes.
The analysis that produced these startling numbers was based on U.S. Department of Transportation records.
Heavy truck traffic on the expressways and other roads does not, of itself, cause accidents. But when truck drivers are fatigued, distracted or otherwise negligent, the sheer size of their vehicles poses a major menace to others on the road.
A supervisor for Indiana State Police heavy truck inspector put it this way: “It all comes down to physics,” said Scott Fleming. “A car weighing a few tons is not going to win against a semi weighing 80,000 pounds.”
Given this reality, distracted or reckless driving by truck drivers is a major, often lethal, problem. To prevent accidents, government authorizes need to crack down on trucking companies and drivers who fail inspections. Regulators should also do a better job of enforcing limits on how much commercial vehicle drivers can be behind the wheel at any one time.
Source: “8,043 heavy truck crashes claim 218 lives on region roads over nine years,” NWTimes, 11-27-11
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