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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) states that in 2012, a total of 3,802 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, a five percent increase over 2011. Large truck and bus fatalities per 100 million miles traveled overall also increased by three percent.

It took only one big truck to ruin the lives of Elizabeth Peralta-Luna’s family. According to the Chicago Tribune, Elizabeth and her two children, Elizabeth (9 years old) and Dylan (4 years old) were attempting to cross a busy intersection when they were struck by a semi truck and killed. Her family recently filed a truck accident lawsuit against the driver and the company he was working for.

Semi Hits Mom and Two Children at Crosswalk

The accident occurred on Friday, March 6, 2015, at around 5:00 p.m. The mother and her two children were walking together in the 4300 block of South Ashland Avenue in Chicago when the semi made a left turn and hit all three. According to witnesses, the driver did have the green light, and apparently failed to see the pedestrians. In fact, the Sun Times reports that he kept driving until witnesses flagged him down about a block away.

Peralta-Luna’s aunt, Maricela Ruiz, was the one who filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. In her complaint, she names the driver, Zachary Barngrover (23 years old) and his employer, Monson & Sons trucking company, as defendants.

The plaintiff claims that the driver was distracted at the time of the accident, and was using his cell phone while going through the intersection. He was cited by police for failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians at a crosswalk, and for making an improper left turn.

Distracted Driving Remains a Critical Safety Issue

The DOT states that in 2012, speeding was the most often driver-related error in large truck and bus accidents, while distraction or inattention was the second most common for large truck drivers.

Distracted driving is any driving that involves less than the person’s full attention on the road. In other words, in addition to talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, looking for something in the interior of the vehicle, using the computer, and other activities may all distract the driver from his or her duties.

In April 2014, ABC News reported that a truck driver was texting while driving when he collided into the back of a New York couple’s car in Pennsylvania. Both occupants were killed. An ABC station in New York City set up cameras on major New York highways to investigate the issue, and caught several truck drivers dialing, texting, and talking while driving.

The DOT reported that nearly 16,000 truck drivers were ticketed for using their cell phones while behind the wheel in 2013. According to federal law, it is illegal for bus and truck drivers to text while driving.

Three Counts of Wrongful Death

Peralta-Luna was reportedly buying her daughter a cell phone before the accident. Her aunt brings three counts of wrongful death. The intersection is reportedly very busy, with many tractor-trailer trucks driving to and from nearby industrial areas.

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