Chicago trucking accident closes Dan Ryan Expressway

A Chicago semi accident forced the closure of the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway early Wednesday morning, the Chicago Breaking News Center reported.

The crash happened at about 3 a.m. near the 67th Street exit. Northbound lanes were closed after a semi pulling a double trailer was involved in an accident with three other vehicles. The truck jacknifed, causing fuel to spill across the road from one of its tanks, according to Illinois State Police.

A Hazmat crew worked with the Illinois Department of Transportation to clear the scene.

Illinois trucking accidents pose a serious threat to passenger cars. Despite the relative few number of large trucks on the road, trucking accidents accounted for 10 percent of Illinois traffic fatalities in 2008, according to the Department of Transportation.

The occupants of a passenger car involved in an accident with a large truck are the frequent victims.

A total of 14,632 trucking accidents were reported in Illinois that year, claiming 115 lives and injuring 2,940. Of the 115 killed, only 5 were occupants of a tractor trailer. Ninety-nine occupants of other vehicles were killed, along with eight pedestrians and a bicyclist.

Of the 2,940 reported injuries, three-quarters involved victims outside the truck.

The vast majority of Illinois trucking accidents occurred in urban areas: 12,101 compared to 2,531 in rural areas. Accidents on highways accounted for more than half of all urban trucking accidents in Illinois, although nearly 3,000 occurred on city streets.

Nationwide, 380,000 large trucks were involved in accidents in the United States in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A total of 4,229 people were killed and more than 90,000 injured.