Construction is a necessary part of keeping roads safe, but construction sites can become just as dangerous as a bad road. Accidents in construction zones typically occur because of excessive speed, drunken or impaired driving, or driver distractions.
While the underlying cause of the following fatal Illinois truck accident has not yet been publicly disclosed, the crash highlights the possible severity of a tractor-trailer accident.
Last November, a tractor-trailer driver crashed into vehicles that had slowed or stopped in a construction zone on I-55 near Hamel, Illinois. According to the Illinois State Police, several witnesses told investigators that the semi was traveling an estimated 60 mph when it struck eight vehicles, even driving over some of them. Four people died as a result of the crash; a dozen others were injured. The truck driver was charged with four counts of reckless homicide and eight counts of aggravated reckless driving.
Three families have filed wrongful death lawsuits alleging driver negligence. The claims suggest that he did not appropriately reduce his speed for the conditions and may have been using a cell phone or another electronic device at the time of the crash. Defendants in the lawsuits also include the truck driver’s employer and a general contracting company performing construction work on the stretch of highway where the accident occurred. The claims allege that the driver’s employer failed to ensure their hired driver operated in a safe manner. The claims against the general contractor allege that it failed to properly design a work zone to ensure the safe control of traffic and failed to adequately warn drivers of stopped and/or slowed traffic in the area.
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