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Chicago IL Personal Injury Blog

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tractor Trailer Accidents in Illinois

Can Truck Accident Victims Sue for Negligence When Truck Drivers Fail to Follow Safety Mandates?

When a car, pick up or SUV driver hits the road, ensuring that he or she is well rested before getting behind the wheel is common sense. When a semi truck driver hits the road, being well rested is the law.

Yet, each year, thousands of commercial truck drivers who are involved in truck accidents are charged with failing to obtain adequate sleep prior to operating their rigs. In some cases, drivers even face charges of falsifying drivers’ logs and destroying receipt evidence to hide their lack of compliance with safety regulations. In rare instances, drivers will even admit to regular “cheating” with regard to laws governing rest-to-drive ratios. Such was the case in a recent, fatal truck collision occurring on I-88 near Aurora.

On the evening of January 27, 2014, Hanover Park resident and commercial truck driver Renato Valaquez had just completed a delivery job that paid almost $1,300. Allegedly already fatigued and having failed to meet federal rest-to-road time limits, Valaquez decided to make additional money by picking up an on-the-spot job to deliver 42,000 pounds of steel. As he approached a parked squad car and disabled semitrailer surrounded by flares on I-88, prosecutors attest that Valaquez’s truck struck the vehicles from behind at 63 miles per hour, killing a toll operator and severely injuring a police officer. Valaquez also allegedly:

  • Admitted to exceeding rest-to-road mandates “all the time”;
  • Rested for only 3.5 hours during the 37.5-hour time period preceding the fatal accident; and
  • Falsified his driving record to cover up his infractions.

In addition to being charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued or impaired and making a false report of his record and duty status, Valaquez faces charges of failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failing to yield to stationary emergency vehicles.

If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident in Chicago, Waukegan, McHenry or any other city in Illinois, it is essential that a full investigation be conducted to determine whether negligence on the part of the driver or transportation company contributed to the incident. For experienced assistance following an Illinois truck accident, contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa. Call (847)416-1989.


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