In a concerted effort to increase safety on Illinois roads and to decrease the potential for dangerous bridge strikes, Governor Pat Quinn recently signed House Bill 1377 into law. The result of recommendations made by a State of Illinois task force, the law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.
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To prevent injuries, deaths and unnecessary costs, the new law focuses on key components, including:
- Making truck routing and restrictions more accessible
- Merging databases containing key truck routing data
- Requiring local governments to provide up-to-date truck route information for posting online
- Providing an educational program for truck drivers about differences between truck and car GPS (global positioning satellite) devices
“There is a significant gap between what is readily available, and what should be reported and made available for manufacturers, to utilize in providing accurate truck-specific routing,” said John McAvoy, director of engineering for Rand McNally and a member of the task force. “Providing vital height and weight information in an easily accessible format will benefit all who share the road,” he says.
According to the most recent data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), serious personal injuries relating to truck accidents injured more than 75,000 people and wrongful-death trucking accidents claimed more than 3,600 lives in 2009. There were more than 9,319 truck accidents in Illinois alone during the same year.
The new law, and the publicly available information resulting from it, should help drivers of trucks as well as passenger vehicles choose safe routes for getting to their destinations. Unfortunately, it does not address the issue of why most trucking accidents are caused: by driver error.
Not only are truck drivers responsible for driving safely and maintaining realistic schedules, they must drive defensively. They must understand the performance capabilities of large commercial vehicles including braking distance and limited maneuverability. They must also be especially vigilant when passenger vehicles disappear into the “no-zones” where visibility is minimal. Though most commercial tractor-trailer drivers are skilled and alert, there are those who put lives in danger by risky and reckless decisions and behaviors.
Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Attorney
If an accident does occur between a truck and a passenger vehicle, it is important for injured victims to protect their rights by consulting with an experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyer. Individuals in Chicago are advised to speak with a Chicago truck accident attorney.