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What can you do to prevent truck accidents?

On Illinois highways, motorists share the road with tractor trailers and other heavy vehicles. The variation in size and weight of all the vehicles on the roads can create unique hazards, and no one knows that better than you, if you are a semitruck driver. Your vehicle is bigger and heavier than many others, so what can you do to prevent truck accidents and keep everyone safer?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says there is plenty you can contribute to highway safety, starting with staying alert. The FMCSA explains, "30 percent of fatal crashes in work zones involved at least one large truck." Paying attention in these zones and noticing "Reduce Speed" signs and other cautions can go a long way toward preventing mishaps in vulnerable places.

FMCSA identifies gap in rule

The thought of being hit by a drunk or a drugged driver is an understandably worrisome one for Illinois residents. If that drunk or drugged driver happens to be operating a semi truck, dump truck or other very large and heavy commercial vehicle, your concerns may well be even greater than if they were driving a passenger car. The weight and size of these vehicles can definitely increase the serious nature of the consequences of such crashes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration knows this and that is part of why it created a new rule to institute a stronger process around preventing impaired operation among truckers. Referred to as the drug and alcohol clearinghouse, this rule has several components including mandated pre-employment drug and alcohol screenings. Another element of the rule is the required substance testing by state agencies prior to issuing any new, transferred or renewed commercial driving licenses.

Why speeding is so dangerous for Illinois drivers

Almost everyone on the road speeds from time to time, and while often nothing happens, there are instances when it can be incredibly dangerous. Speeding is a seemingly benign behavior that can actually have a detrimental impact on others. In fact, driving too fast is one of the leading causes of car accidents.

Victims of car accidents in Illinois often suffer because another person was operating a vehicle at dangerous speeds. Through accident reconstruction and other investigative measures, it is possible to hold these drivers accountable for their actions. If you are suffering physical injuries, financial losses and emotional trauma after an accident that was not your fault, you likely have the right to pursue compensation through a civil claim.

What should you know to petition for grandparents' rights?

If you are a grandparent in Illinois and you have filed a petition for visitation rights with your grandchildren, there are some things you should be aware of as you make your request. 

Illinois Legal Aid Online explains what judges are looking for when they are deciding whether to grant non-parents the right to see children. Remembering the courts are always working for the best interests of the kids, you should also be mindful of other issues. Have you already established a relationship with your grandchildren, for example? Legal Aid Online describes it in this way: "whether the child visited with the non-parent for at least 12 consecutive months." Monthly visits establish the existence of a relationship and show how strong the ties are.

Making the case for strong underride guards

Illinois passenger vehicle occupants are at high risk of catastrophic injury or death if they crash into the back or side of a huge 18-wheeler. As reported by Forbes, the bottom of the trailer is so high off the ground that the passenger vehicle slides underneath it in a crash rather than stopping at the moment of impact.

The continued high-speed forward motion of the passenger vehicle underneath the trailer usually shears off its roof, hood and windshield, leaving its occupants vulnerable to death by decapitation. The vulnerability is especially high for the driver and front seat passenger.

Illinois ranks high nationally in number of dog bite claims

If you live in Illinois and have ever had the unfortunate experience of suffering a dog bite from someone else’s animal, you are not alone. According to 2014 numbers, Illinois ranks fourth in the nation in terms of the number of dog bite claims filed, with insurance agencies in the state paying an average of $34,894 per claim. At the Law Office of Kerley & Associates, we understand that considerable expenses often result from dog bites, and we have helped many dog bite victims across the state seek appropriate compensation for their injuries.

Per the Insurance Journal, only three states in the nation see more dog bites claims than Illinois, and, nationwide, the average cost per claim is on the rise. Why? Part of the uptick is attributable to the fact that many claims filed nowadays involve more than just dog bites. For example, some claims involve animals who, whether on or off-leash, cause children, bicyclists and seniors, among others, to fall and injure themselves.

The advantages of foster parent adoption

Illinois families who want to expand through adoption may first want to become foster parents in the state. Many find a significant number of benefits come from foster parent adoption.

Child Welfare Information Gateway explains those advantages. Besides the comfort in adopting a child who is familiar with the family, foster parent adoption gives adoptive families another edge because they likely will have already met and gotten to know the birth parents. CWIG says they may have even worked together in the beginning to help return the child to his or her original home. This mutual understanding helps eliminate fears from both parties.

Risk for truck drivers is not lost on the IDOT

CBS Chicago reported on a March 1, 2018, accident that involved three semitrucks and four vehicles. One person died as a result of the collision, and Illinois Interstate 290 closed for half a day while first responders worked the scene. Because the crash caught fire and caused a fatality, the National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to investigate. They are hoping to determine what triggered the deadly collision.

Even before the March 1 incident, the Illinois Department of Transportation recognized the dangers for semitruck drivers on the state's roads. Since operators of heavy vehicles represent 14 percent of fatalities on Illinois highways, state leaders had put regulations on weight and speed in place while promoting campaigns to raise awareness in all drivers. The leaders' end goal is to "eliminate all heavy-vehicle-involved fatalities."

The significant dangers of driving under the influence of drugs

There are many factors that could place Illinois drivers at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident. Inexperience, alcohol and distraction can make a driver more likely to cause an accident, as well as drugs. Even prescription drugs can affect the way a person is able to operate a motor vehicle. Regardless of the type, a person affected by drugs could be a danger to everyone on the road.

Like alcohol, drugs can affect a person's cognitive function and physical reactions. Unlike alcohol, however, there is no universal way to accurately test for the amount of a drug in a person's system or how impaired a person on drugs is at a specific moment. For this reason, victims of drugged driving may feel that it is difficult to hold appropriate parties accountable for their pain and suffering.

What are the most important things to after a car crash?

As an Illinois driver, you know that auto accidents happen far too frequently. If you have one, there are certain things you should and should not do immediately afterward. As FindLaw explains, the most important is to stay at the scene. If you leave before law enforcement officers authorize you to do so, they may charge you with leaving the scene or even with hit-and-run.

After determining whether or not you are injured, check on your passengers and the drivers and passengers of all other vehicles involved in the accident to see if they are all right. If anyone is injured, immediately call 911 on your cellphone, identify yourself, tell the operator your location and request emergency assistance from first responders and law enforcement officers. Do not attempt to move any injured person unless you must rescue him or her from further danger, such as from a downed power line, a fire, flood waters, etc. Moving an injured person can result in exacerbation of his or her injuries.

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Law Office of Kerley & Associates
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Springfield, IL 62703

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