Chicago accident lawyer Howard Ankin says the recent fatal crash involving a truck driver in the Chicago area underscores the need for reforms in the trucking industry. Mr. Ankin is the owner and founder of Chicago car accident law firm The Ankin Law Office. He believes the trucking industry needs more effective tools to monitor how many consecutive hours drivers are on the road and how much rest they get between trips.
The fatal accident occurred on Jan. 27 on Interstate 88 near Aurora. A tollworker and a state trooper had pulled over to the side of the highway to help a driver with his broken down truck. While they were assisting the driver, they were struck by an oncoming semi which failed to veer out of the way. The tollbooth worker was killed and the trooper was critically injured.
The driver of the semi was arrested and charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired or fatigued, driving beyond the 14- and 11-hour rules and making a false report of record and duty status. All of those charges are felonies. The driver’s attorney said that tests showed the driver was not intoxicated at the time of the accident.
The tragic accident has brought new concerns about the amount of time truck drivers spend behind the wheel. Many truck drivers are paid per mile. Deliveries are also run on tight deadlines as many companies have adopted “Just-in-time” logistics systems. Those two factors have combined to provide additional incentive for drivers to make trips as quickly as possible.
While there are laws in place to restrict the amount of time drivers go without sleep or rest, those laws are easy to work around. Many trucking companies use manual books to log a driver’s time behind the wheel. Since the driver is the one who keeps the book, it’s relatively easy to manipulate.
Howard Ankin says that it’s time for the trucking industry to embrace readily-available technological advances. He says that GPS technology could easily replace the logbooks, which would provide more accurate driver information and potentially save thousands of lives.
Howard is adamant in supporting legislation and technology that can be used to protect and potentially save the lives of everyday motorists.