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Trucker Falsified Logbook in Fatal I-55 Chain Reaction Crash

A tractor-trailer driver that was involved in a chain-reaction crash that left four people dead and four others injured last month is being held on $1 million bail and was charged with falsifying a logbook and willful violation of a logbook. He was also cited for speeding.

According to Illinois State Police, the driver was not following posted construction site speed limit signs when he slammed into a car causing a chain reaction crash involving three vehicles and another tractor-trailer.

The truck crashed into the vehicles that were stopped in traffic in a construction zone at 2:17 p.m. the driver stated that he started work around 6-6:30 a.m., when he actually started work at about 2:30 a.m., meaning that he had been behind the wheel of his semi for almost 12 hours when the accident occurred. It was reported that witnesses at the scene said the truck failed to slow down for the stopped vehicles.

Federal hours-of-service rules limit truckers from driving more than 11 of the 14 consecutive hours they work. They are required to take a ten-hour break before driving again. The goal of these rules is to prevent fatigue-related accidents, which may have played a role in this accident on I-55.

Falsification of logbooks has been a chronic problem in the trucking industry. When state police pull trucks over for a routine safety inspection, they review the logbooks, which are usually just written in a paper book. The main problem is that a handwritten logbook can be easily falsified. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently proposing a rule that would require all truckers to use electronic logs in an effort to reduce falsification of logbooks and also address coercion of drivers to break the law.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, under the slow-moving federal rule-making process, mandatory e-logs are more than two years away. The article also stated that making sure truckers comply with limitations on their hours of service is largely an honor system that relies heavily on roadside spot checks for verification.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2012, there were 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks, an increase of 18 percent from 88,000 in 2011. Of these people injured in 2012, 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles that were involved in crashes with the trucks. The states with the highest percentage of fatal truck crashes in 2012 were Texas, California, Florida and Pennsylvania.

The NHTSA also reported that in 2012, large trucks were more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash as opposed to a fatal single-vehicle crash than were passenger vehicles (81% of fatal crashes involving large trucks are multiple-vehicle crashes, compared with 58% for fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles).

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of trucking accident victims in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck, choose carefully, choose Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. For more information or for a free consultation, visit www.munley.com.

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Posted in Truck Accidents.

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