New Study Reveals High Amounts of Drug Use among Truck Drivers

Web Admin - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

By Ken Apicella

Truck drivers often experience difficult working conditions, such as long hours or strenuous physical demands. These conditions can lead to a temptation to abuse alcohol and other drugs while driving, which increases the likelihood of traffic accidents, endangering both themselves and others on the road.

Drug Use among Truck Drivers

A new study examined the prevalence of substance abuse in the worldwide trucking industry. The study used both self-reported surveys and data from drug tests to try to get the clearest picture possible. The results showed a disconcerting amount truckers using mind-altering substances on the job.  One of the sets of tests that the study examined showed a high rate of alcohol use among American truck drivers, showing that approximately one in every eight tests came back positive for alcohol.

The study also examined illegal drug use, most particularly marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine. The study brought together survey data across the world that showed that 3 percent of truck drivers admit to using cocaine, 20 percent admit to using marijuana, and as many as 30 percent worldwide to using amphetamines while driving.

These drugs all cause different effects, and consequently are dangerous for different reasons. Some substances, like alcohol and marijuana, sedate users, causing drowsiness and decreased alertness. Conversely, drugs like cocaine and amphetamines are stimulants. While truckers often use them to stay awake on long trips, they can also alter reaction times and cause hallucinations.

Protecting Yourself

Drivers can take several steps to protect themselves, including maintaining an increased awareness of trucks on the road, and making proper signals when changing lanes or performing other maneuvers.

No one can truly ensure that they stay completely safe on the road. In the event that a driver does get injured in a trucking accident, they can benefit from the counsel and experience of an attorney who can help them recover both the medical and emotional costs of the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, contact an Arlington Heights personal injury attorney today. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Crystal Lake, Chicago, Barrington, and other nearby communities.

Rundown of the Illinois’ Sales Representative Act

Web Admin - Friday, November 22, 2013

Employers often pay their salespeople a commission, meaning that the salesperson collects a percentage of whatever they can sell. It is a way for employers to motivate their sellers, and it lets sellers see the benefits of their hard work. But, both employers and employees should note that Illinois passed a special employment law, the Sales Representative Act, to regulate how employers must pay these commissions.

The Sales Representative Act applies to all commissions, which it defines as a compensation scheme based in whole or in part on a percentage either of the employee’s gross sales, or the net profits from those sales. The Act covers three main areas: when commissions come due to the employee; how employers should handle commissions owed to a terminated employee; and the penalties that can apply to employers if they fail to comply with the Act.

As to when the employer must pay the commissions, the Act contains several scenarios. If the employee’s contract specifies a due date for the commission, then the Act allows that to control. However if the employee works without a contract, or if the contract does not specify a date, then the Act looks to the employer’s past practice of when they pay the employee, and then holds the employer to that schedule. If the employer only recently hired the salesperson, meaning there is no past practice, then the Act uses the standard practice of the salesperson’s industry to determine when the employer owes commissions.

The Act also lays out specific requirements for paying commissions to terminated employees. If the employer owes any commissions to the employee at the time they let the employee go, then the employer must pay those commissions within thirteen days of the employee’s termination. If more commissions come due after the employee’s termination, then the employer must pay those no later than thirteen days after they come due. Additionally, the Act specifies that an employee’s waiver of the right to collect on commissions after they are terminated will not be enforced.

The Act also contains severe penalties for employers who fail to comply with the Act’s guidelines for when to pay commissions. An employee may sue them for failure to pay, and receive up to three times the value of the commissions. Additionally, the employer may be forced to cover the salesperson’s court costs as well as their attorney’s fees.

Legal Help

If you are a salesperson being paid on commission who believes their employer violated this act, or if you are an employer concerned about whether your practices comply with the law, contact an experienced Illinois employment lawyer today. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, and other nearby communities.

Motorcycle Crashes in Illinois: How to Stay Safe and What to If You Can’t

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Motorcycle crashes represent a particularly dangerous brand of traffic accident, often with far more serious injuries than a typical car wreck. A report issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation stated that, even though motorcycle accidents made up only 1.6 percent of total crashes in Illinois, the proportion of the total crashes that involved a fatality shoots up to 16.7 percent. With accidents that are so often so dangerous, riders should know what steps they can take to keep safe, as well what they should do in the unfortunate event that they end up involved in a serious accident.

How to Drive Safe

As with all motor vehicles, following the rules of the road, and practicing defensive driving are key to a safe, enjoyable ride. However, Illinois law places restrictions on riders beyond those of a normal car. Illinois law requires:

  • • The use of the bike’s headlights at all times, regardless of weather conditions or light levels;
  • • Motorcyclists to refrain from lane splitting, or driving between two lanes of traffic;
  • • Proper seats and footrests if the motorcycle is carrying a passenger;
  • • Insurance coverage similar to that required of automobiles.

  • Riders can also take further steps to ensure that they stay safe. Helmets, while not required by law in Illinois, can decrease the likelihood or severity of head trauma, a common cause of death in motorcycle accidents. Additionally, regular bike maintenance can decrease incidence of equipment failure mid-ride, which makes getting into an accident less likely.

    What to do After an Accident

    The steps to take after a motorcycle accident very much resemble those taken after a car crash:

    1. 1. Check on everyone involved in the crash to see if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
    2. 2. Call 9-1-1, to inform them of the accident; do this even if no one has been seriously hurt, since you should still report the accident to the police.
    3. 3. Collect as much contact information as you can from the other people involved in the crash, especially a phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information
    4. 4. Document the scene of the accident. If you have a camera or a camera-phone handy, get pictures of the scene, as well as the individual vehicles involved. If you don’t have a camera available, try to take some pictures of the damage to your bike once you get home.
    5. 5. After you have spoken with the police and made your report, contact your insurance company to report the accident. They may ask you for an interview to provide them with the details of the accident. Make sure not to provide this information without first consulting with an attorney.

    If you have recently been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney today. Call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member our team today. We serve the northwest suburbs of Chicago including Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and other nearby communities.

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