An Amtrak train headed to Chicago derailed yesterday, injuring at least ten people. The train collided with a semi truck at a railroad crossing in Michigan. The engine was overturned and all 68 passengers and five crew members had to be evacuated. The truck driver was also taken to the hospital. Thankfully, none of the injuries suffered were life-threatening.
A number of questionable practices in the Cook County Highway Department have placed workers and the driving public in danger. According to Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard, many of the 320 trucks in the fleet have not passed, and would not pass, safety inspections, increasing the risk of serious truck accidents. While some vehicles have continued to be used despite not passing inspection, the County also used fraudulent practices to help some of its other vehicles sneak through the state's safety inspection.
With all the attention paid to cell phone use and the rise in distracted driving, it is important to keep sight of a problem that has been around since cars were invented-driver fatigue. After several high profile truck accidents cited sleep apnea as playing a role in the accident, some industry groups took notice. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made a recommendation in 2008 that all truck drivers undergo screening for sleep apnea. Despite that recommendation, the Department of Transportation had taken no action to require truck drivers to be tested for sleep apnea or for sufferers to be treated before they can resume driving.
A Tuesday afternoon truck accident claimed the life of a 60 year-old Chicago woman. The fatal truck accident is still under investigation and no criminal charges are pending at this time. The woman was crossing at a crosswalk in her motorized wheelchair when she was hit by a cement truck. The driver of that truck, a Glenwood resident, failed to stop at the stop sign in the intersection.
Lawmakers and safety experts all over the country are working to combat the dangers of distracted driving. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now recommending that commercial drivers be banned from using mobile phones while driving. The NTSB believes the measure could prevent many truck accidents caused by negligent semi drivers. The recommendation was one of several made as a result of the NTSB investigation into a 2010 truck accident that led to 11 fatalities in Kentucky.
The April accident that claimed the life of an Indiana construction worker led to an arrest on Wednesday. The driver in the fatal tractor-trailer accident is being accused of causing a death while operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance. A blood test conducted by authorities after the incident revealed the presence of marijuana in the truck driver's bloodstream.
Mechanical difficulties forced a Canton man and his family to pull their RV to the side of the road on Monday. While the 35 year-old driver of the RV worked under the vehicle to make repairs, a semi truck collided with them on the shoulder of Interstate 39. The resulting injuries cost the RV driver his life and sent the three passengers, a woman and two children, as well as the semi driver to the hospital.
The identities of two Springfield residents who were killed in a collision with a semi-tractor trailer on Wednesday were released. The fatal truck crash involved the driver and passenger of a Pontiac Grand Prix which crossed the median on Interstate 70 and was struck by a semi-trailer in the westbound lanes. The driver of the semi suffered only minor injuries in the accident.
The woman who was killed in a collision with two semi-trucks on Wednesday has been identified. The fatal truck crash involved four vehicles on Interstate 80. The Toyota being driven by the 60 year old Park Forest resident collided into the back of a semi-tractor which was stopped in traffic at 2:15 p.m. Her car was then struck by another semi and knocked into a Mazda Protégé in the far left lane. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident at roughly 3 p.m.
The Prospect Heights truck driver who struck and derailed a Metra train last Friday had a record that included a DUI, as well more than 50 other traffic violations. Victims of the serious truck accident are left to wonder how he could still be driving with so many warning signs spanning his driving record since 1986. This latest incident cost the driver his life and sent at least 26 train passengers to the hospital.