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Safety week for commercial truck drivers

Truck drivers in Illinois may be aware that the week of Oct. 16 is Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Operation Safe Driver Week. During this period, law enforcement focuses on educating drivers about traffic safety and enforcing existing safety laws.

The CVSA partners with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to focus on actions such as distracted driving, improper lane change, speeding, traveling too closely, failing to obey traffic control devices and failing to wear a seat belt among other others. According to a study by the FMCSA, 93 percent of passenger-vehicle crashes and over 88 percent of large truck crashes occur because of driver behavior.

The aim of the CVSA program is to reduce the incidence of those crashes. The program also has significant support from the industry and from various transportation safety organizations.

Truck accidents can be particularly devastating because of the size of the vehicle. A person who is injured in a truck accident might sustain serious injuries and may be offered too little compensation. If the truck driver is at fault in the accident, it might be possible to file a lawsuit against both the driver and the company the driver works for. The burden of proof is lower in a civil suit, so even if the driver does not face criminal charges, a civil lawsuit might still be successful. The standard of proof in a civil suit is known as a preponderance of evidence. This simply means that one side is able to present enough evidence to outweigh the other side. A driver who was distracted, sleepy, under the influence of alcohol or drugs or impaired in some other way might be found negligent.

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