Trucking Accident Death Blamed on Defective Bridge Design — Southern Illinois Truck Accident Law Firm

By February 4, 2009Traffic Safety

A southern Illinois mother is calling for improved safety measures on the Martin Luther King Bridge, the Belleville News-Democrat reported Jan. 11. The call came after the woman lost her 26-year-old son to a serious East St. Louis truck accident on the bridge. The young father of two had pulled over on the bridge, which doesn’t have a shoulder or a sidewalk, to deal with car trouble. A delivery truck coming in the same direction sideswiped him, throwing him into his car’s back seat and causing catastrophic brain injuries that eventually led to his death. The article notes that at least five people died in November and December of 2008 on the King and McKinley Bridges, which connect St. Louis to East St. Louis.
Experts quoted in the article agree with the mother that the King Bridge could use more safety measures. In fact, St. Louis Fire Department chief Dennis Jenkerson told the paper that he avoids the bridge after having responded to many serious accidents there. Proposed solutions include installing a barrier to prevent traffic from crossing into oncoming lanes, changing the flow of lanes according to the direction of peak traffic and combining the bridge’s four narrow lanes into two wider ones. In response to these concerns, a Southern Illinois lawmaker plans to introduce legislation asking the Illinois Department of Transportation to look into improving the bridge’s safety.
Breaking down in the wrong place can be deadly. Statistics on accidents involving stopped motorists are difficult to come by, but Families for Roadside Safety reports that being struck by a passing vehicle is the leading cause of death for law enforcement, firefighters, emergency responders and tow truck drivers combined. Illinois and Missouri both have “move over” laws, which require motorists to change lanes or slow down when emergency vehicles are stopped at the roadside. Ordinary drivers don’t spend as much time on roadsides, but when they are, they deserve the same protections. All it takes is one drunk, inattentive or impatient driver to create another tragedy.
With its narrow lanes and no safe place to stop, the King Bridge is ready for a redesign that accommodates 21st-century traffic patterns. In the meantime, everyone who uses the bridges can do their share by being extra careful around stopped vehicles. When truck drivers fail to take reasonable care, they may be held legally and financially responsible for the results with a Missouri or southern Illinois trucking accident lawsuit. If you or someone you love has been hit by a truck, on a bridge or anywhere else, Carey, Danis & Lowe can help you understand your case and your legal options. To set up a free consultation with our experienced attorneys, please contact us online today.