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St. Charles County Residents Call for Improvements to Rural Highway After Teenager’s Death

A recent article on road improvements in St. Charles County caught my eye, as a St. Louis car crash lawyer. According to an Oct. 2 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, residents of a rapidly growing area of the county are pushing for improvements to the area’s Highway DD after a crash claimed the life of a sixteen-year-old girl from Wentzville. Elise Sunderhuse died Sept. 3 after the driver of the car she was riding in veered off the road, overcorrected and smashed into a sign. The accident was the fifth fatality on Highway DD in five years and one of more than 140 crashes during that same period. A town hall meeting is planned for Oct. 22 in New Melle to discuss the problem.
According to the article, rapid growth in this area of St. Charles County has put more traffic on the once-rural highway than originally envisioned by its designers. State officials say the accident rate on Highway DD is twice the state average for highways of the same type, putting it among the most dangerous. Residents cite the highway’s lack of shoulders and steep roadside embankments as safety problems, along with deer, sun-blindness and heavy trucks heading to a nearby quarry. A spokesman for MoDOT added that lanes on the highway are 10 to 11 feet wide, falling short of the 12-foot federal standard and making shoulders important. MoDOT has already lowered the speed limit on the highway from 55 to 50 mph, and plans to add shoulders and turn lanes in certain areas.
I wrote last week about safety improvements to the MLK Bridge into East St. Louis, which also has a disproportionately high rate of accidents. Chief among the safety concerns about the bridge are its lack of shoulders and ten-foot lanes — problems that Highway DD shares. As with the bridge, the narrowness of Highway DD presents serious problems because motorists have no place to go if, for example, a vehicle in the oncoming lane swerves into their paths. As with the bridge, Highway DD is a major artery for people in the area — and unlike the bridge, it will have two schools on it by this time next year. As a Missouri auto accident attorney, I hope the efforts to address the problems with the bridge lead to similar efforts on Highway DD before someone else is killed in a preventable accident.

Government agencies are legally obligated to make sure the roads we use every day are safe. That includes maintaining and improving roads so they can handle the amount of traffic in an area, even after rapid development and growth. If they fail in that duty, victims may hold them legally responsible with a lawsuit, just as they might sue an irresponsible driver. At the Lowe Law Firm, we represent motorists from around Missouri and southern Illinois who have been seriously hurt because someone else failed in their duty to take reasonable care. Our southern Illinois motor vehicle crash attorneys help victims of accidents caused by government negligence claim full compensation for all of their injuries, costs and other damages.
If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries because of an unsafe road, a bad driver or another cause beyond your control, the Lowe Law Firm would like to help. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us online or call 1-877-678-3400 today.