After last week’s semi trailer accident in Mattoon, Ill., I was dismayed to read that a similar accident occurred just two days later in Missouri. In this case, two people were killed south of St. Louis because a semi truck driver took his eyes off the road and did not notice slowing traffic in front of him. As a St. Louis semi trailer crash attorney, I know how tragic the consequences of these accidents often are, and I hope that truckers will do everything that they can to avoid preventable accidents.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, a tractor-trailer driver from Texas was driving down I-55 near St. Louis when he took his eyes off the road to look off to the right. The driver admits that he took his eyes off the road. When he looked back at the road, he wasn’t able to stop for the traffic slowed in front of him, and his truck barreled into the cars. Cpl. Jeff Wilson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said the semi truck ran over the top of a Ford Focus and dragged it 100 yards, killing Charles Martin, 52, of Perryville, Missouri. Then, the tractor-trailer swerved right and hit more cars, killing Alana McKnight, 28, of Festus. Wilson and a Jefferson County prosecutor said the driver’s inattention may or may not lead to criminal charges. If charges are filed, they would most likely be charges of criminal negligence or reckless driving. Both noted that the comparatively huge size of the truck may or may not influence the decision to file charges. An accident reconstruction team is expected to take two weeks to complete its investigation.
As Wilson pointed out in the article, someone vehicle weighing 80,000 pounds on public roads could put others in great danger — if he or she doesn’t drive with utmost caution. This is why federal and state regulations restrict semi truck drivers from driving unless they are reasonably well rested and their vehicles are in good mechanical condition. Properly followed regulations would keep drivers not meeting these conditions off the road, because anything less is negligent driving. Drivers of trucks that are up to 22 times heavier than other vehicles on the road have a special responsibility to look out for others’ safety. As distracted driving becomes an increasingly notorious cause of traffic accidents and fatalities, all drivers should be careful to focus their attention on the road. But truck drivers have a special responsibility to be careful, considering their capacity to do greater damage to others. As this article shows, a semi truck can run over and drag a Ford Focus, but a Ford Focus can’t do the same to a semi truck.
If truck drivers fail to live up to their legal responsibilities and hurt others as a result, victims can require them to pay for the damage they caused. In my work as a Missouri big rig accident lawyer, I have seen too many families devastated by financial and emotional losses from preventable accidents caused by distracted driving, and it has been my privilege to help them put their lives back together. For example, say a family’s breadwinner is suddenly killed by a negligent, distracted semi truck driver. The surviving family members, such as the spouse and children, can sue the negligent driver and his or her employer for the financial support that they have lost. They can also sue for compensation for their pain and suffering and for replacement of property, such as the family car, that was destroyed in the crash.
If you or a loved one were hurt by a negligent semi truck driver, please contact the southern Illinois 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation about your situation. It’s important to speak with an attorney right away after an accident in order to make sure all relevant evidence from the crash is preserved and protect your rights. To set up a free consultation, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.