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Sleep Deprivation of Driver May be Factor in Fatal Truck Crash

lack of sleep may cause more accidentsA deadly truck accident on I-88 in Northern Illinois has people calling for an expanded federal investigation to determine whether trucking companies regularly break safety laws and cause serious accidents. Renato Velasquez was declared an ‘imminent hazard to public safety’ by the Department of Transportation. The reason for this was the role that Velasquez played in the death of a tollway worker. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Velasquez manipulated his logbooks and violated hours-of-service rules with the intent of hiding how many hours he worked.

More about the fatal truck accident

The accident led to the death of tollway worker Vincent Petrella. The accident happened near Eola Road on I-88. Velasquez crashed into a parked Illinois State Police cruiser and Petrella’s truck. While trooper Douglas Balder was critically injured, Petrella was killed onsite.

According to investigators, Velasquez tried to hide the fact that he had driven a thousand miles in just dozens of hours. He drove from Hanover Park to Nebraska, then went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and finally ended up back in suburban Chicago. Investigators estimate that he only took between 3 ½ and 5 ½ hours of rest during that ironman drive. According to federal law, over-the-road truckers are unable to remain on duty after working 14 continuous hours or drive more than 11 hours in a shift.

Truck driver fatigue is a serious hazard

The truth is that Velasquez is not the only person who jeopardizes the lives of others by driving while extremely tired. Truck driver fatigue is a growing public safety concern. Studies show that a large percentage of truckers are getting behind the wheel while they are significantly sleep deprived.

It is no secret that the trucking industry places a great deal of demand on these truckers. Earlier surveys show that truckers feel that the schedule their company expects them to follow does not allow adequate time for sleep.

It is important to remember that accumulated truck driver fatigue does not merely put the trucker at risk – it places everyone on the road at risk. Studies have already proven that severe fatigue while driving produces results that are not unlike alcohol intoxication.

Make sure to hold all parties responsible

While it is certainly important to hold individual drivers responsible for their decisions, we have to understand that unless there are drastic changes in the trucking industry, the issues are not going to resolve themselves. For every single driver who says ‘no’ and is terminated because of his or her decision not to drive while tired, there will be several others who will gladly take the offered route. It is important to hold every party financially responsible for their actions. Until that happens, they are likely to continue with this dangerous behavior.

The unfortunate reality is that insurance companies for trucking companies and truck drivers are going to do everything possible to minimize the amount to pay on a claim or try to avoid paying any type of settlement altogether. That is why you need someone who is not afraid to take on these large companies on your behalf. Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today.