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18 Wheeler Speeding in Illinois Construction Zone Kills Three

A semitrailer truck that failed to slow down for an Illinois construction zone triggered a chain-reaction crash that killed at least three people in rural Illinois, the Rockford Register Star reports.
The accident occurred two days after Christmas on southbound Interstate Hwy. 39 in Lasalle County, Illinois. According to the Illinois State Police, an 18-wheeler approached a construction zone where cars were merging from two lanes into one. The semi didn’t slow down. According the news report, the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.
The big rig rammed into the back of one car, sending it into the median before rolling over. Unable to stop, the semitrailer then plowed into the back of a car driven by a retired Minnesota couple, Donald W. Rautio, 67, and his wife, Faye C. Rautio, 65. Their car slammed into a fourth car, driven by Caryn J. Casey, 21, which burst into flames. The 18-wheeler then caught fire. Three more vehicles, including a second truck, were swept up into the chain-reaction crash. The Rautios and Casey were killed.
Driver fatigue is a deadly problem. In the weeks to come, investigators will examine whether this tragedy could have been avoided. The Department of Transportation imposes strict regulations on the trucking industries. Truck drivers may not work more than 14 hours in a 24-hour period and then must have ten hours of rest before returning to the road. Both driving and sleep time must be recorded in the driver’s log box. If the log is falsified, a truck’s “black box” or GPS tracking systems may reveal the truth. These are all key pieces of evidence that will be reviewed to determine whether the driver violated DOT regulations when he got behind the wheel on December 27.