As a Missouri semi truck crash attorney, I was happy to read that fatal accidents are on the decline, and I hope that this trend continues. According to the Kansas City Fox affiliate, the Missouri Department of Transportation says deadly crashes involving semi trucks have decreased by almost half since 2005, from 173 to 88. MoDOT released a report about the decrease in fatal semi truck accidents in honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Sept. 19 through 25.
MoDOT cites several reasons for this decline. Some of the credit belongs to MoDOT itself for engineering efforts like visibility improvements and rumble stripes that keep drivers in their own lanes. Fatal crashes caused by lane departure fell by more than half in the period under study — from 136 to 62. Even more promising, there was a particularly steep decline in fatal crashes caused when a vehicle crosses the median of a divided highway and veers into oncoming traffic. Those crashes declined by 85 percent, from 20 to 3.
MoDOT pointed to several other factors that helped to reduce fatal semi truck crashes. Because of the bad economy, both passenger cars and commercial trucks are traveling slightly less. Fewer cars on the road means fewer accidents. And when accidents do occur, emergency response personnel are doing a better job of responding to them. MoDOT says emergency response time has improved in both Kansas City and St. Louis. Tom Crawford, president of the Missouri Trucking Association, added that some of the credit also belongs to professional truck drivers who practice defensive driving and pay attention.
Unfortunately, as a St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I know that not all truck drivers are as careful as the ones Crawford describes. From the Large Truck Crash Causation Study carried out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, we know that many fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers result from unsafe and illegal behaviors by truck drivers. Aggressive driving, speeding, tailgating, illegal turns and other maneuvers, and even alcohol use, were involved in many of the accidents under study. Laws and regulations governing how truckers drive and maintenance of their rigs are meant to keep everyone on the road safe. Sadly, some unscrupulous trucking companies and their employees can see laws and regulations as impediments to their profits, and ignore as many of them as they can get away with — sometimes with tragic results.
In my work with victims of accidents caused by negligent truck drivers, I have seen many families devastated by the physical, emotional, and financial costs of these accidents. Medical costs, funeral costs, replacement of destroyed property such as the family car, and lost income can add up quickly. These financial costs are on top of the physical, emotional and psychological injuries that can come from crashes involving large trucks. Family relationships are often strained by the chaos that can result from the injury or death of a loved one and the stress of long-term medical treatment.
Victims of trucking accidents caused by the trucker’s or trucking company’s negligence can claim financial compensation for all of these kinds of harm. As a southern Illinois semi truck accident attorney, I counsel victims or their survivors about their rights to fair compensation from truckers and trucking companies. Because of the complexity of cases involving semi trucks, anyone involved in a crash with a semi truck should contact an attorney right away. Evidence can be lost quickly as time goes by. Worse, trucking insurance companies often manage to persuade victims to sign away their rights to sue in exchange for a much smaller sum of money than the victims could be awarded with the help of an attorney. Truckers’ insurance companies have their own interests in mind and their own professionals to protect their interests. It’s only fair that victims also have their own professional, expert representation to protect their rights.
If you or a loved one have been hurt by a negligent semi truck driver, please contact Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation. To set up an appointment, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.