Those of us who use Illinois' interstates and expressways to commute to work or get to other destinations see our fair share of tractor-trailers. We know how difficult to control they can be for even experienced drivers. We've also heard the reports of drivers falling asleep at the wheel after many hours on the road. Therefore, we try to give them some extra space.
Big rigs and other commercial trucks have become safer in recent years. Many are equipped with various types of driver assist technology that help truckers avoid catastrophes. Tractor-trailer drivers are also required by the federal government to use an electronic logging device (ELD). These devices record miles driven, so drivers can no longer misstate that information on hand-kept logs.
These technological advancements may be part of the reason why fatal accidents in which large trucks are involved dropped 2.7 percent between 2007 and 2016. That statistic is based on miles driven. Therefore, it takes into account the fact that large trucks drove fewer combined miles at the end of that period (288 million) than at the beginning of it (304 million), which was before the recession hit.
How qualified are the drivers using this technology? That continues to be a cause for concern. As more and more drivers retire, it's estimated that trucking companies will need to hire nearly 900,000 new drivers in the next 10 years.
When people in cars and other vehicles are involved in crashes with tractor-trailers, the injuries they suffer can be devastating, even if they aren't fatal. Too often, victims and their families are afraid that they'll have no chance of succeeding in a legal claim against a large trucking company.
That's not true. If a truck driver and/or the company was at fault for the crash, victims can and should seek the compensation they need and deserve as they put their lives back together.