In early 2018, a tractor-trailer crashed on Interstate 80 outside of Aurora, spilling thousands of potatoes onto the roadway and grinding traffic to a half for hours.
The accident occurred when a passenger cut off a tractor-trailer while both were passing under a bridge, forcing the truck onto the shoulder of the road, where the top of the vehicle struck the bottom of the bridge. The impact was so forceful that the trailer separated from the tractor and overturned, dumping its load of potatoes.
Many drivers on the road don’t realize the importance of being careful around tractor-trailers. But consider this. A fully loaded semi can weigh as much as 125,000 pounds, while a small passenger vehicle might weight just 4,000 pounds. In a crash, the passenger vehicle would be no match, so taking care around tractor-trailers is important to safety on the road.
Careless Drivers Can Cause Aurora Truck Accidents
A suburb of Chicago, Aurora has approximately 200,000 residents, making it the second most populated city in the state of Illinois.
Its roadways, however, are complex, because half of the city is located on one side of the Fox River, while the other half of the city is on the other.
At times, traffic can be heavy, and when roads are shared with tractor-trailers, even seemingly minor accidents can be catastrophic because of the size differences between the two different vehicles.
Causes of Aurora Truck Accidents
The Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway was the site of one of the worst truck-related crashes in Aurora history, when a tractor-trailer driver failed to stop for a tollbooth operator and an Illinois State trooper, whose vehicles were parked along the side of the road as the two helped to assist a disabled motorist.
The driver slammed into both vehicles, killing the tollbooth operator and injuring the state trooper.
According to prosecutors, the driver was overly fatigued and had been driving too long, but had falsified log books in order to hide the actual hours he’d been behind the wheel. Federal law prohibits truck drivers from spending more than 11 consecutive hours behind the wheel.
He was eventually sentenced to three years in prison for his part in the tollbooth worker’s death.
Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck-related accidents, because many of the truck drivers on the road behave exactly as the driver on Reagan Memorial Highway did. They drive longer hours than legally allowed in order to deliver loads on time, then falsify log books to make it seem as though they haven’t driven over the legal limit.
Driver fatigue is dangerous, because it can cause drivers to make careless mistakes, fail to react quickly enough to avoid an accident or fall asleep at the wheel.
Other common truck-related accidents in Aurora are caused by:
- Faulty equipment. Many trucking companies cut costs by cutting back on required maintenance. Both tires and brakes – two of the most dangerous fails for a tractor-trailer – are the most common equipment failures to occur.
- Driving under the influence. In order to stay alert after hours behind the wheel, some drivers may turn to stimulants such as methamphetamine or cocaine to stay awake, then rely on marijuana or alcohol to bring them back down again. Even some cold medicines can cause drivers to become drowsy and less able to react to dangers in the road.
- Blind spots. Trucks have multiple blind spots, and if drivers aren’t especially careful on the road, merging or switching lanes can be a deadly maneuver.
- Distracted driving. Long-haul truck drivers often travel unfamiliar roads, making it easy to make a wrong turn and find themselves diverted off course, even when using a GPS system. Still, GPS systems, cell phones and other electronics can distract drivers from the road, making their trucks and trailers potentially deadly.
- Driving aggressively. Drivers who found themselves stuck in rush-hour traffic in Chicago may be stressed and angry by the time they get to Aurora, leading them to drive aggressively by weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, speeding or making other unsafe moves.
Aurora Danger Zones: What Spots Are Common for Truck Accidents?
In addition to the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway, some of the most dangerous Aurora area roadways, based on recent truck-related accidents, include:
Witnesses saw the driver, whose death was attributed to health problems, swerve into other semis parked in the lot. Luckily, no one else was injured in the incident.
Crashes with tractor-trailers obviously don’t always end with limited injuries.
If you were involved in a truck accident in Aurora, it’s important to contact an experienced lawyer to review your case. Our firm understands the complexities of truck-related lawsuits, including gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies and if necessary, going before a jury in order to effectively fight your case.
Your consultation with us is free, and you won’t be charged until we win your case in court.