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Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on November 8th, 2013,
by Zane Cagle

Interstate 29 Accident Near Platte City, Missouri Claims Life of 65 Yr-Old Man

Posted on November 8th, 2013 by Zane Cagle

[cbc_video id=”10364″ volume=”30″ width=”642″ aspect_ratio=”16×9″ autoplay=”0″ controls=”1″]An Interstate 29 semi-truck accident has claimed the life of a 65-year old Topeka, Kansas man. The collision occurred near Platte City, Missouri on Monday and involved a chain reaction accident involving six vehicles.  Missouri State Highway Patrol said a semi-truck rear ended the Topeka man’s vehicle and sparked a chain reaction accident with four additional vehicles.  Troopers said rush hour traffic was slowing because of construction when the accident occurred.

Making an error at work for many of us may result in lost time or resources to go back and “fix” the problem, however, many occupations have little to no room for error.  For example, operating room doctors and nurses have little margin for error and unfortunately, truck drivers are very similar. I have many clients who have suffered life changing injuries or who have lost family members due truck crashes, and I’ve represented truck drivers.   The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the federal organization oversees commercial trucking companies and commercial truck drivers.  FMCSA requires drivers to complete safety checks before starting and moving their trucks as well as keep Hours of Service logs, meaning they can only drive for specific amounts of time before they must rest.

Truck driver fatigue is more common than you would think. When drivers have cargo/delivery under a deadline, it is hard for them to stop and rest because their pay depends on them successfully delivering their cargo.  Just like all of us, truck drivers are confronted with challenges daily such as heavy traffic, weather and road construction that slow their progress and jeopardize the truck driver meeting a deadline. So why don’t they allow for these interruptions? Truck drivers are just like each of us in that they may not sleep well or may be ill and  still need to work. If I’m groggy at work, pressing on behind my computer does not endanger lives if I nod off—the worst thing that will happen is a typo.

However, if a truck driver nods off during a trip, a second of inattentiveness can result in 80,000 lbs. of truck and cargo hurling in the wrong direction. If you are in a passenger car near this truck, this scenario is problematic and terrifying for you. Rarely, does a passenger car fare well in a semi-truck collision simply because of the weight disparity. Complicate that equation by adding the high rate of speeds of interstates and collisions frequently result in serious injuries if not death when semi-trucks are involved. Simply stated, there is little room for error for a semi-truck driver. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard of care than other drivers simply because the results of their actions have such a huge impact on other motorists.  Truck drivers are required to perform safety checks of their rigs and keep an Hours of Service log to ensure their trucks are functioning properly and they are not driving too much and not overtired.

If we can make a difference in the safety of our highways involving trucks, we must hold transportation companies responsible for truck driver behavior.  What I mean is this:  Transportation companies are responsible to repair reported tire problems and operating malfunctions. As well, transportation companies hold drivers to deadlines that sometimes require driving time that exceeds the FMCSA Hours of Service requirements.  For many transportation companies, safety is a top priority.  But………transportation companies are also in the business of making money, of course.  The problem occurs when the system of operations of a trucking company does not consider the factor of drivers such as fatigue, unreasonable deadlines and failing to repair reported malfunctions. Responsibility.  It is not a fun concept sometimes—I know the term personally.  It is very difficult to take responsibility for some choices because some choices have a long term impact on us and others.

It is easy to say, “Oh, it was a mistake” because people do not always expect you to be responsible for a mistake.  However, at our firm, we believe that mistakes you make when driving are more often than not, a matter of a choice rather than a mistake.  A choice usually proceeds a mistake. The information above regarding FMCSA and truck driver responsibility does not imply that the I-29 driver involved in the accident did anything wrong or that he/she is liable.  I am simply talking in generalities about truck drivers, fatigue and being fallible human beings.  Even though we are human beings that make mistakes, the only way we can “Share” the highway is to be responsible for our choices. If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident or auto accident, you may need legal representation.  Specifically, if you have been injured, you will need representation. If you were fortunate enough not to be injured, then you probably do not need me. Our attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm know that it is a difficult process to recover from a serious accident. Negotiating with insurance companies sometimes makes you feel like you need to be a licensed insurance agent but we help to uncomplicated those matters and make sure you are correctly represented whether it involves serious injuries or wrongful death.

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