Truck accident leaves four dead, four injured

Most truck drivers are good people who are concerned with highway safety. But as in all other lines of work, there are some who break the rules and make their peers look bad. One of the most commonsafety regulations broken in trucking is the rule restricting the hours a truck driver can drive and work in a 24-hour period: they can, at most, drive 11 hours during a maximum 14-hour workday.

As Joplin residents know, truckers who exceed those limits can wind up dangerously fatigued, posing a menace behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound vehicle moving at highway speeds. Next door to Missouri, a 51-year-old man faces criminal charges in a truck crash that killed four people and left four others injured.

NBC News Chicago said the Elwood, Illinois, accident happened when the 18-wheeler sped into an Interstate 55 construction zone and crashed into a car, triggering a chain reaction with three other vehicles and another big rig.

An earlier report from NBC said one of those killed was a mother in a vehicle with three of her four children. The kids, ages 16, 12 and 10, survived the ordeal, but we can only imagine the shock and trauma involved for them. One of them remains hospitalized in stable condition; the other two were treated and released.

An 11-year-old girl in a separate vehicle was also killed in the chain reaction.

Law enforcement officials say the trucker falsified his log book, claiming he had started work that day between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., when he had in reality started at 2:30 that morning. The crash happened approximately 12 hours later.

How can we stop truck drivers from causing so much damage and grief? We can use the law to its full extent and hope that other truckers learn to adhere to regulations.

People who have lost loved ones or suffered injuries in a truck accident should speak with an attorney experienced in representing families and injury victims.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Truck Driver Held on $1M Bail in Fatal I-55 Chain Reaction Crash," Lauren Petty, July 23, 2014



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