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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."

To achieve this aim, the IDOT began by assessing the main causes of accidents for trucks and other heavy vehicles. They found the following:

  • 25 percent of collisions resulted from vehicles leaving the road;
  • One-third of road departures took place in curves
  • 9 percent of serious injuries and fatalities happened in curves
  • 36 percent of fatalities and other serious injuries came in intersections

One of the main concerns that came out of the above assessment was risk associated with the state's infrastructure. Since a large percentage of injuries and deaths resulted from curves and intersections, the IDOT has made it a priority to improve the infrastructure by adding more warning signs, increasing markings on pavement and reducing the speed limit in high-risk areas. The IDOT also plans to continue its driver awareness campaigns and other safety initiatives.

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