Illinois is considered a major transportation hub due in no small part to its centralized location and access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway. The Mississippi River that defines part of Illinois’ border with other states also provides access to the Gulf of Mexico. Whether dealing with imported or exported goods, there is a fair chance that a product will travel through Illinois at some point.
Once commercial goods arrive in Illinois, they must then be distributed all over the state or to the rest of the country. This requires the use of large commercial vehicles, like tractor-trailers (also called semi-trailers, truck and trailers, and 18-wheelers). These trucks are generally made up of two parts—the tractor unit that houses the engine and driver’s cab and the trailer where cargo is loaded and stored. Some truck drivers are certified to drive up to two or three total trailers.
If you’ve spent any time at all traveling on the interstates near Marion or in the rest of Illinois, you’ve had to share the road with these large commercial vehicles. Although they comprise part of the normal traffic on any given Illinois interstate, that does not mean they are safe. Simply driving near a large truck can be hazardous. Blown tires, trailer disconnects, and inattentive drivers can all lead to catastrophic accidents.
A truck accident is always a serious event. When facing off against a fully loaded tractor-trailer (which can weigh an average of 80,000 pounds), smaller passenger vehicles do not stand a chance. In accidents involving a large truck and a passenger car, the majority of severe injuries and fatalities occur among drivers and passengers riding in the smaller vehicle. Our Marion truck accident lawyers advise everyone to exercise caution when traveling near large trucks, especially when it is necessary to drive on some of the busiest interstates for trucks.
Illinois Interstates With the Most Truck Traffic
Nine different interstates crisscross the state of Illinois, accounting for 2,185 miles of roadway. While you will encounter tractor-trailers on every interstate you travel, some are certainly busier than others. You’ll have to deal with a higher average number of semi-trucks when driving on the following interstates:
Starting in California and ending in New Jersey, I-80 runs east to west across the United States. It spans approximately 2,900 miles across 11 states, making it the second-longest interstate and a major transcontinental highway. It is also one of the busiest interstates with a significant amount of truck traffic.
Part of the interstate runs through Joliet, IL, and includes a set of dual bridges running parallel to one another over the Des Plaines River. More than 85,000 vehicles a day cross these bridges, including approximately 12,000 tractor-trailers.
I-90 is another east-to-west transcontinental interstate. With just over 3,020 miles, it is the longest interstate in the United States—and one of the busiest. Some stretches of I-90 near Chicago have an average daily traffic volume of 311,000 vehicles, 31,000 of which are trucks, or about 10%. Other stretches of I-90 have truck traffic that makes up nearly 40% of overall daily traffic volume.
I-70 is significantly shorter than some of the other busiest highways. It stretches across multiple states for 1,216 miles. There are 157 miles of I-70 in Illinois, where it has four junctions with different state highways. I-70 is a designated truck route in Illinois, as are both I-80 and I-90, which means that it sees plenty of truck traffic every day.
What Are the Requirements for Truck Drivers in Illinois?
All commercial truck drivers who drive tractor-trailers must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). Some drivers require additional endorsements to drive certain trucks or transport hazardous materials. Truck drivers must also adhere to the federal hours-of-service regulations, and take all breaks as required to avoid becoming fatigued and causing an accident.
Truck drivers must also perform pre-trip inspections and post-trip written reports that detail any potential deficiencies or defects that would affect the overall safety and operation of the vehicle. This report should include some of the following parts:
- Hand brakes
- Service brakes
- Steering mechanisms
- Coupling devices
- Emergency equipment
- Lighting devices
Truck Accidents in Illinois
There is no denying that truck accidents are serious. Of the 119 truck accident fatalities that occurred in Illinois in 2020, truck drivers accounted for only 15 deaths. Passenger vehicle occupants made up the majority of deaths, accounting for 93 total victims. The other victims were pedestrians, bicyclists, and non-motor vehicle occupants.
Consider some of the other Illinois truck accident statistics from 2020:
- There were 9,296 total truck accidents
- Fatalities were present in 105 truck accidents
- Injuries were present in 1,636 truck accidents
- Truck accident fatalities increased 2.6% from 2019
- Most fatalities occurred on interstates or toll roads
- Urban areas were deadlier than rural areas
Truck drivers are supposed to be trained professionals who can successfully navigate the road safely to deliver their loads without causing any harm. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents can be traced back to poor behavior by the truck driver or trucking company itself, including:
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Following too closely
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Insufficient training or credentials
- Not driving for the weather
- Negligent hiring practices by the trucking company
Life After a Truck Accident
While you might count yourself lucky to have survived a serious truck accident, your journey is far from over. At Prince Law Firm, our Marion truck accident lawyers fight for compensation for victims just like you. The trucking company and its insurer will try to push you to accept a quick settlement that is far less than what you deserve, even if they know that the accident was not your fault.
When advocating for victims, our truck accident attorneys utilize information found in truck black boxes, employer trucking records, and even past driving violations to help paint a clear picture of who was at fault.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable and compassionate Marion truck accident lawyer.