You may never forget the day your life changed forever. On the other hand, you may mercifully have no memory of the tractor-trailer accident that caused you catastrophic injuries and perhaps claimed the life of a loved one. While that loss may have been precious to you, your loved one was among approximately 5,000 others who died in accidents with big rigs in a single year.
Most horrifying of all may have been the news that the driver of the truck was distracted at the time of the accident. Perhaps the driver did not even apply the brakes because he or she was looking away from the road and failed to see that your vehicle and others had stopped or slowed down. This scenario plays out too often on today's fast-paced highways.
Big rig distractions
It is certainly dangerous when drivers of cars and SUVs allow things to distract them from the job of operating the vehicle. You may have passed many cars on the road whose drivers were engaged in some other activity while behind the wheel. When the operator of a tractor-trailer drives while distracted, a subsequent accident may result in more lives lost simply because of the size and weight of the vehicle. Common distractions for drivers of big rigs include:
- Dialing or answering a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Programming navigational systems
- Reading or consulting a map
- Reaching for objects in the cab
- Adjusting the radio or changing a CD
Tractor-trailer operators use their mobile devices to stay in contact with their dispatchers and updated on weather conditions. However, because of the increasing speeds on many highways and the fact that truckers spend long hours on the road, such distractions place you and others in grave danger.
You may be interested to know that the laws governing drivers of smaller vehicles are even stricter for truckers. The trucker involved in your accident was breaking the law if he or she was using a hand-held phone. Younger truckers are more likely to break this law since they come from the generation raised with electronic devices. However, one study found that eating behind the wheel may be even more dangerous than using a cell phone, and safety advocates urge truckers to pull over to eat their meals.
No matter the factor that distracted the truck driver on the terrible day of your accident, the results left you in the hospital with life-changing injuries. You may also be mourning the life of a loved one or watching that loved one suffer as you do. As you fight through your recovery, you may be gratified to know that there are legal professionals in Illinois who are willing to join the fight for the compensation you deserve.