House Bill Proposed To Increase Penalties For Truck Driver Accidents

HB 1516 (click here for bill details ), Rep. Cabello’s bill to increase penalties for truck accidents that inflict great bodily harm or worse, was approved by the House on Thursday, March 12. The floor vote of 85-23-2 sent the bill to the Senate for further action.

HB 1516 was a response to road accidents where a truck driver commits a willful violation of the Illinois Motor Carrier Safety Law, such as sleepy driving with a forged logbook, and the act causes a motor vehicle accident that hurts or kills an innocent person. Under this bill if passed by the House, if the truck-crash accident causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to another person the conduct is a Class 3 felony; and if the accident causes the death of another person, the conduct is a Class 2 felony. A Class 3 felony is punishable by a term of 2 to 5 years in the Department of Corrections, and a Class 2 felony may be punished with a term of 3 to 7 years.

Cabello’s advocacy was a response to several tragedies throughout Illinois. The lawmaker told his colleagues on the House floor of the tragic death on January 26 (see the Daily Herald article), of tollway maintenance worker Vincent Petrella and severe injuries inflicted upon State Trooper Douglas J. Balder by the same crash on Interstate 88 near Aurora. A driver of a commercial semi-trailer truck was arrested and charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued or impaired, driving beyond the 11-hour rule, driving beyond the 14-hour rule, and keeping false records. Cabello’s bill is supported by the Illinois State Police Command Officers Association (visit the ISPCOA Facebook page).