Illinois Big Rig Accidents Under More Scrutiny in the Courts

Recent semi truck rollovers in Illinois highlight the seriousness of these types of collisions. Big rigs weigh a lot more than passenger vehicles and take a lot more time to fully stop. In mid August, a semi truck flipped near Burr Ridge on the Stevenson Expressway, slid through three lanes of traffic, and hit two cars. The truck was carrying locomotive parts and caused the expressway to be shut down for hours. The four injured people were taken to local hospitals with moderate injuries.

In East Hazel Crest, two tractor trailers collided, causing one of the drivers to die. The accident occurred early in the morning on South Halsted Street. The driver that survived was given a ticket for his role in the accident. But a lot stiffer penalties are now in play after the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that truck drivers who cause accidents and are found with traces of illegal drugs in their system can be found guilty of a felony versus just a misdemeanor. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that prosecutors in four cases in Cook, DuPage, and Kane counties relied on the high court’s opinion to charge guilty drivers.

Even if careless driving caused the accident, remnants of illegal drugs in a truck driver’s system allow the charge to be upgraded. This ruling applies to illegal drugs and prescription drugs used in unlawful ways, such as expired medicines and unsafe quantities. Proof of impairment is not mandated; the evidence of the drug in the bloodstream is the main requirement. The Illinois Supreme Court has been overturning cases on appeals in truck accident cases involving both serious injuries and wrongful death. The stance mimics the drunk driving policy of zero tolerance in the state.

“As tough as this (court opinion) is, maybe it’ll make people realize if you’re going to drive negligent with drugs in your system, you’re going to face tougher penalties,” said JoLynn Lash, whose husband died last November from a driver who was found to have drugs in his system. “It should never be a misdemeanor when someone’s life is lost.”

Drug use is almost as problematic as drunk driving in America. According to a recent study, 25 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs and 37 percent had alcohol in their systems. With its ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court is sending the message that truck drivers must take their jobs very seriously and drive safely. With time, the courts are sure to take a stance on passenger vehicles and drugs found in drivers’ systems.

The Chicago truck accident lawyer Paul A. Greenberg represents auto drivers and truck drivers who have been injured because of the negligence or carelessness of another driver. The truck accident team at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg excels at analyzing who and what caused the accident, and they will uphold your rights to compensation for your injuries. As a SuperLawyer recipient, Chicago truck accident attorney Greenberg is revered by clients, his peers, insurance companies, and the judiciary as an outstanding lawyer in the Chicagoland area. To learn more, visit or call 877-595-HURT (4878).

Briskman Briskman & Greenberg
351 West Hubbard Street, Ste 810
Chicago, IL 60654

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago truck accident lawyer and Chicago truck accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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