Illinois residents know that commercial trucking is an important mainstay in today’s society and economy. Getting products from manufacturers to store shelves or delivering items purchased online directly to consumers’ homes, trucks of various sizes are used extensively every day. There are, however, great risks involved when these big rigs take to the roads given how much larger and heavier they are than standard passenger vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees the trucking industry and provides regulations that trucking companies and truckers are supposed to comply with to keep the roads safe. One example of these regulations is the rule that caps the number of hours a trucker can drive each week and each day. The goal is to reduce fatigue among truckers, a known problem.

Despite strong rules, truck accidents continue to claim innocent lives every year. According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people killed in large truck accidents last year increased from the previous year even as total accident fatalities decreased. In 2018, truck fatalities accounted for 16% of all accident deaths statewide, claiming 166 lives. In 2017, truck fatalities accounted for 14% of all vehicular deaths in Illinois.

In looking at Winnebago County, the problem appears much worse than across its neighboring counties. Between 2014 and 2018, the county recorded 12 fatalities from large truck crashes. Ogle County experienced eight such deaths in the same time period. In Boone County, three people died in truck crashes. Stephenson and DeKalb Counties each lost two lives in truck accidents over these five years.