Missouri 18-Wheeler Accident Fatality Rate Increasing

State and federal law enforcement and safety agencies continually promote and heavily regulate safe driving and equipment-maintenance practices for the nation's sizeable over-the-road trucking industry. Yet, despite public effort, recent news that in Missouri more deaths resulted from big-rig accidents in 2011 than 2010 gives you pause.

Missouri Highway Patrol Figures

CBS Local News in St. Louis, Mo., interviewed Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Tim Hull about 2011 semi-truck accident fatality trends in the state. Reportedly, 2011 saw 120 deaths from commercial-truck accidents, up from 105 in 2010, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Captain Hull said that the higher number of 2011 deaths occurred even though the overall number of accidents dropped slightly. He attributed this to the likelihood of multiple persons dying from the impact of large trucks weighing 80,000 pounds or more.

He explained further that usually in semi-truck accidents the drivers of the smaller vehicles involved are responsible because they maneuver into truckers' blind spots, positions where the trucker cannot see the other vehicles.

Missouri Trucking

Unfortunately, accidents involving tractor trailers and cars will only continue to happen in the state given its function as a "bridge state" in transportation lingo. This means that because of Missouri's location in the center of the country, many major routes crisscross through on their way to freight destinations in all directions.

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the state has the country's 11thbiggest interstate highway grid plus more than 32,000 miles of state roads. Those roads intersect with rail lines, and end at Mississippi River ports along the eastern border of the state where trucks can make connections to pick up freight. Busy Interstate 70 links Kansas City and St. Louis on opposite sides of the state.

MoDOT provides illustrative large-truck figures from 2001:

  • Around 1.1 billion tons of freight valued at more than $1.3 trillion dollars moved through the state's transportation network.
  • Around 65 percent of this freight by weight was hauled by truck.
  • Around 80 percent of this freight by value was hauled by truck.
  • The most common commodities hauled by truck include farm and food products.

Truck-Accident Characteristics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did a major study of semi-truck accidents in 2006 that resulted in some interesting findings:

  • Fatalities are more likely when a truck accident involves at least three vehicles.
  • Three-quarters of truck accidents happen during the daytime and two-thirds on level pavement.
  • Factors present in significant numbers in tractor-trailer crashes include driving too fast for the conditions, running off the road to the right and when other vehicles move into trucks' lanes.

If you are injured in a Missouri truck accident, or if a loved one has been killed, discuss the unique circumstances of your case with an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney. Get help in launching your own accident investigation and pursuing your legal remedies and call a lawyer today.