Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on August 5th, 2014,
by Zane Cagle

Speed-Related Crashes Result in I-70 Fatalities and Injuries

Posted on August 5th, 2014 by Zane Cagle

interstate crashesOne person was killed and three others were seriously injured in a car crash on Interstate 70 in north St. Louis early Tuesday morning.

The accident occurred around 12:30 a.m. on I-70 at Riverview.  Police said the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it began swerving. It then crossed all lanes of traffic and struck a guardrail. The car rotated and traveled backwards down an embankment and through a fence in the 45 block of Riverview.

Police said one of the passengers, a 31 year old man was found dead at the scene. The driver and other two passengers were transported to a hospital where they are listed in critical but stable condition.  The investigation is still ongoing.

Interstate 70 Crashes

Crashes on Interstate 70 have disturbingly become almost daily news stories.  Due to the higher rates of speed on interstates compared to other highways and the sometimes high volume of traffic, interstate crashes can be the most dangerous types of accidents for truck drivers, passenger car drivers and motorcyclist.  In the last month, some of the leading news stories regarding I-70 crashes include a semi-truck and car crash near St. Elmo, Illinois, an Aurora, Colorado motorcyclist at I-70 and I-255, and the above described fatal and serious injury crash in north St. Louis.

In the Effingham Daily News, a driver crashed into a semi-tractor trailer on Interstate 70, sending a passenger to the hospital in mid-July.  A 40 year-old man of Madison, Wisconsin was driving a 2011 BMW westbound around 1:38 a.m. on I-70 four miles west of St. Elmo. The BMW driver was traveling at a high rate of speed and was unable to slow down in time striking the back of a tractor trailer. Both vehicles came to rest on the shoulder of the highway.  A passenger in the BMW, a 35 year old woman of Belleville, Illinois was injured.

On July 28, a man lost control of his motorcycle and died Sunday night at Interstate 255 and Interstate 70 near Aurora, Colorado. In the fatal accident, the motorcyclist was traveling northbound on I-225 around 6:40 p.m. and exiting to eastbound I-70, lost control of his motorcycle on the ramp curving to the right. Reportedly, the motorcyclist left the ramp to the left side. It hit a dirt portion of ground for a “significant distance” before the motorcyclist lost control, throwing the rider from the bike.  The unidentified rider was transported to a hospital where he died of his injuries.  It is reported the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed. It was also reported that a small red car was in the area and going the same direction at the time of the crash an that the motorcycle and the car were going at a high rate of speed. At this time, it is still unknown if the car was involved in the crash.

Excessive Speed Cited in All Three Crashes on Interstate 70

Excessive speed was cited as a contributing factor in all three I-70 crashes in Illinois, Missouri and Colorado.  Speed-defined as exceeding the posted speed limit or driving to fast for conditions and is a factor in nearly one third of all fatal crashes as defined by the Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

While we will not get into the debate of the statistically evaluation of the impact of raising speed limits on interstates, we can look at the contributing factors of fatal accidents. When motorists operate their vehicle at a speed that is too fast for road conditions, it can result in serious injury and fatalities such as in the story above. Excessive speeding does not allow a driver enough time to react to unexpected circumstances thus making them more likely to crash. Speeding is frequently a cause of car crashes. Speed limits in Missouri are as follows:

  • Missouri Speed Limit Requirements
  • 70 mph on rural interstates and freeways
  • 65 mph on rural expressway
  • 60 mph on urban interstates, highways, expressways and freeways
  • 60 mph on other roads (except Sate 2 lane lettered roads) not located in an urban area
  • 55 mph on State 2 lane lettered roads

In the crashes discussed above, speeding is not listed as the proven cause for any of these accidents.  In each accident, investigators have to fully investigate many variables of the crash including the physical terrain, the vehicles involved as well as the nature of the individual’s injuries and other factors leading up to the actual crash in order to determine all factors contributing to the crashes.  Frequently, a car, truck or motorcycle crash is multi-faceted in the circumstances that cause the actual crash resulting in fatal and serious injuries. One thing we do know, serious crashes occur more frequently on busy interstates. Because so many of us are directly impacted by the traffic and crashes on Interstate 70, we would be unwise not to study the causes.

Interstate and freeway travel are a part of most of our lives on daily basis especially if you live in or around an urban area.  President Eisenhower stressed the importance of efficient highway and in the 1950’s, when a modern interstate highway system was thought to be more efficient as a means of transportation and evacuation in a time of war.   Originally, Eisenhower never desired the interstates to pass through or reach into the major U.S. Cities, but it happened in short time. Originally, not just any road could connect with an interstate, however, in the last 50 years, interstates have continued to grow and connect more and more cities and towns.  Statistically, most crashes on interstates do occur where other roads or interstates merge and/or intersect. Any time you have traffic going in different directions, the possibility for a crash increases. Along with the interstates came congestion, smog, automobile dependency, drop in densities in urban areas and the decline of mass transit.  I will not get on my theories of optimal infrastructure theories in this blog!

While interstates may not be used the way former President Eisenhower had hoped, in 50 plus years, interstates and freeways are a part of U.S. transportation.  Ideally, vehicles traveling on interstates would travel in a consistent speed. The variations of vehicles slowing down, speeding up, passing and merging are generally the areas where collisions occur.  When deviations occur or a driver does not pay attention, the results can be tragic.

Use caution when traveling any roadway, but use extra caution when on interstates. Most St. Louisians know the  more dangerous portions of Interstate 70, Interstate 55 and Interstate 44 and keep our eyes peeled in these areas, but using extra caution at all times is critical.  Your commitment to be an alert driver is crucial for yours and others’ safety. It is important to drive in accordance to the posted speed limit as long as it is a safe condition to do so.  Obviously, inclement weather may cause drivers to slow below the speed limit, but you should not exceed the speed limit as it creates a differential between car speeds that can more likely create the circumstances for a car crash.

If you have been injured in an interstate accident, you may need expert legal representation. It takes a small injury to result in large medical bills as well as lost wages.  Determining liability in a crash may become an issue.

Consulting an accident attorney right away is a cautionary step to insure investigations are completed and statements are recorded. As well, our attorneys can assist with preserving evidence that may be critical in the months to come.  We are available for free consultations seven days a week 1.800.685.3302or locally 314.276.1681