If you drive southeast of Edwardsville for about 140 miles, you will arrive in the small town of Carrier Mills, Illinois. The village of less than 2,000 residents was the site of a recent collision between a tractor-trailer and passenger vehicle on US 45.
While Interstate 55 is close to Edwardsville, it’s much closer to Hamel a few miles northeast of us. The busy highway roars by the east side of the village.
You see it across Illinois and Missouri: drivers paying attention to their phones rather than to streets and traffic. Far too often the results of distracted driving are motor vehicle crashes and injuries.
It takes less than three hours to drive from Edwardsville to Savoy, Illinois. The village next to Champaign is in shock after news that four members of a family there were killed in a tractor-trailer crash in East Texas.
With interstates on three sides of Edwardsville, we know that highway crashes often result in severe injuries and, in far too many cases, fatalities. Experts say that the risks of motor vehicle collisions, injuries and deaths rise dramatically when drivers combine speed with distractions or impairment.
In many cases when a truck accident occurs, the truck driver is deemed to be at fault. Additionally, it is common for people who hear about truck accidents to immediately think this without knowing the facts. To some degree, this is warranted given the reputation that the truck industry has and their penchant for pushing drivers to meet deadlines at any cost.
Most Americans recognize that there are inherent risks involved with sharing the road with commercial truckers due in part to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles. When truck drivers engage in substance abuse, alcohol abuse or distracted driving behaviors, the risks become even more pronounced, but safety advocates believe there is a new factor affecting today's truckers and their driving abilities: long commutes.
Because Edwardsville is nearly surrounded by interstate highways, we understand better than most the dangers posed by large commercial trucks to occupants of passenger vehicles. Enormous 18-wheelers are longer, taller, wider and heavier than cars. Experts say that big rigs are also much more difficult to maneuver and stop.
Tesla recently unveiled a new sports car and its first commercial semi truck. Most reports focused on the sports car because it has features that could allow it to compete with muscle cars.