Trucking Accident Causes Explosion on Highway 40 and Death of Young Man

By November 11, 2009 Trucking Accidents

As a St. Louis semi truck accident attorney, I was disappointed to see that a young man died over this past weekend in a crash with a large truck. According to a Nov. 10 article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Suburban Journals, 20-year-old Kyle Lauders of O’Fallon died around 3:40 a.m. Saturday, after he crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. Authorities suspect Lauders was drinking before he drove east in the westbound lanes of Highway 40. His vehicle hit the driver’s side of the truck before scraping down the side of the truck, puncturing the gas tank and causing an explosion. The truck’s driver, 48-year-old Danny Lanier of Kansas City, Kan., was not injured. However, the tractor unit and one of the trailers were demolished in the fire.
From the description provided in the article, it seems likely that this crash was not the fault of the truck’s driver, and I’m glad that he escaped injury. My sympathies go out to Lauders’ family and friends. But as a Missouri big rig accident lawyer, I am interested in whether equipment problems may have contributed to the ensuing fire. Large commercial trucks log thousands of miles on the road every year, and accidents are so common that trucking companies build them into their cost of doing business. That means trucks’ gas tanks should be well-reinforced in order to avoid an explosion like this one. If the truck’s manufacturer failed to sufficiently reinforce the tank, or its maintainers failed to ensure that those reinforcements were still working, they could be liable for any injuries or deaths that could have resulted.
Human error and bad decisions cause traffic accidents far more often than problems with defective or poorly maintained equipment. But truck defect accidents do happen. One federal study found that malfunctioning or failing brakes were blamed for 25 to 60 percent of all crashes, by crash investigators and safety inspectors. Other studies and real-life accidents have exposed problems with improperly inflated tires, missing or defective lights and other serious safety defects. Despite safety regulations requiring regular maintenance, some trucking companies still cut corners on maintenance in order to save money, gambling that nothing bad will happen. When they lose that bet, their own drivers and all of the drivers and passengers around them are exposed to an unreasonable, unnecessary risk of death and catastrophic injury.


At the Lowe Law Firm, we focus a large part of our practice on representing victims of serious accidents with commercial trucks. We understand the complex and serious issues involved in trucking accidents, including the devastating injuries involved as well as the risk of unfair, illegal behavior by insurance companies eager to pay as little as possible to victims. Our southern Illinois 18-wheeler accident attorneys work hard to level the playing field for our clients, starting with explaining their rights and protecting them from illegal behaviors, pressure or harassment by insurers. In every case, we will work our hardest to get clients the fullest possible financial compensation, even if that means months of research into the cost of lifetime treatment and loss of income for a seriously injured person.
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a serious trucking accident, don’t hesitate to contact the Lowe Law Firm for help. We offer free, confidential case evaluations, so there’s no risk in speaking to us about your rights and your options. To set one up, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.