The federal government has approved a plan to build truck-only lanes on Interstate 70 throughout the entire state of Missouri, the Kansas City Star reported Sept. 9. The Federal Highway Administration gave its approval to the plan by the Missouri Department of Transportation, which means the project is now eligible for federal funding. That’s an important consideration, the newspaper said, because the state highway agency currently has no money to start building. It hopes to secure $200 million from the federal stimulus package to begin building the truck-only lanes on a 30-mile section of highway in Saline and Cooper Counties. Once this section is in place, MoDOT hopes motorists’ initial experience with it leads to further funding from other sources.
The Missouri lanes are part of an ambitious and potentially groundbreaking project to build truck-only lanes on 800 miles of Interstate 70 across four states — from Kansas City in the west to the Ohio-West Virginia border to the east. Other states have limited truck-only lanes, but according to the Star, nothing so large exists anywhere in the U.S. Perhaps as a result, the project is controversial. MoDOT and many in the trucking industry say truck-only lanes would reduce serious trucking accidents in Missouri, by separating large, heavy trucks from passenger cars. A grassy median would lie between the lanes, and dedicated exit lanes for trucks in areas where they are deemed safe. However, the Sierra Club of Missouri argued that the lanes could actually increase accidents because trucks would have to cross lanes of traffic to exit the highway, and cars would be in their blind spots during that time.
As a Missouri tractor-trailer accident attorney, I cannot help but notice that cars are already in trucks’ blind spots. Under the current setup, drivers run that risk during the entire time they are on the highway, rather than just during the moments when the truck exits. For that reason, and because the Sierra Club is an environmental organization, I suspect the Sierra Club’s concerns actually lie more with the environmental impact of the project. There is a place for environmental concerns, but as a St. Louis semi truck accident lawyer, I am more concerned about the hundreds of Missourians and nearly 5,000 Americans who die in fatal trucking accidents each year on average. According to the federal Department of Transportation, another 101,000 were injured in big rig accidents in 2007 — including people who were left disabled for life by brain damage or paralysis. If our state has a chance to reduce these tragic accidents with truck-only lanes, I believe it’s worth at least exploring.
Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Illinois, the Lowe Law Firm represents victims of serious trucking accidents caused by someone else’s carelessness. In most of our cases, that means the carelessness of a truck driver who was not watching the road, drove while intoxicated or broke trucking safety laws in another way. Because trucks are so much larger than cars and can do so much damage, trucking accidents are generally very serious, leaving smaller vehicles crushed and victims killed or catastrophically injured. The resulting high medical bills and loss of income can be financially devastating for an ordinary family. Our southern Illinois 18-wheeler accident lawyers help accident victims sue the wrongdoers for the money to pay these and other accident-related bills, as well as compensation for their injuries, losses and pain.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident in Missouri or southern Illinois, you should talk to the Lowe Law Firm right away. To set up a free, confidential consultation, you can reach us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us through our Web site.