An unfortunate accident last week highlights a winter driving danger being ignored: falling snow and ice off the tops of semi-tracker trailers. To speak with a top Chicago truck accident attorney, call Passen Law Group at (312) 527-4500.
In Aurora, Peter Morano was severely injured when a large block of ice came off the top of a semi-tracker trailer as it was passing beneath an overpass. According to news reports, the block of ice hit and shattered the windshield. The driver’s nose was broken in several places, and the orbital bone of his left eye shattered. Lacerations to his left iris may leave his vision permanently damaged.
While there is no data specifically related to how many serious motor vehicle accidents each winter are specifically caused by ice falling off large trucks and other vehicles, there is plenty of data showing a spike in catastrophic car and truck accidents during the winter months due to weather-related factors. f you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident that you suspect was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another, contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Passen Law Group.
The accident described above raises a number of questions that have no simple answer. For example, should the law require truckers to remove snow and ice from their vehicles prior to hitting the road? The obvious answer is yes and, indeed, New Jersey passed such a law in October 2009. To date, New Jersey is the only state to have passed such a law.
One problem is that such laws may run counter to current federal motor carrier safety regulations that prohibit drivers from climbing atop their rigs without proper safety equipment. Such equipment is often only available at the terminal, if at all, and is impossible for truckers to bring with them on the road.
It stands to reason that if de-icing equipment exists for 747s, then snow and ice removal equipment exists for semi-tracker trailers. Unlike the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which requires de-icing of aircraft, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) does not require snow and ice to be removed from semis. Thus, it is of little surprise that a survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) shows 54% of truckers “rarely or never” remove snow and ice from their rigs.
For now, New Jersey may stand as an example enacting, supporting and enforcing snow and ice removal laws in order to make roads safer for all. Hopefully, for the sake of public safety on our nation’s roadways, other states, including Illinois, will follow.
If you have been seriously injured in a crash involving a car, truck, bus, motorcycle or other motor vehicle, contact Passen Law Group for Free Consultation with a Chicago personal injury lawyer at (312) 527-4500.