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Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on March 28th, 2013,
by Zane Cagle

St. Joseph Man and Daughter Killed in a Semi-Truck Accident in Missouri

Posted on March 28th, 2013 by Zane Cagle

A 26 year-old St. Joseph man and his young daughter, age 5 died in semi-truck accident on US 36.  According to The St. Louis Post Dispatch,  the St. Joseph man was killed east of St. Joseph when he was following a semi-truck that was traveling slowly due to mechanical problems.  The patrol says the passenger car driver swerved into the passing lane, lost control of his car and skidded into the rear of the tractor-trailer.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), each year about 400,000 trucks are involved in motor vehicle crashes. Rear-end crashes account for about 18% of crashes where the semi-truck strikes another vehicle.  Both types of accidents, truck rear-ending or other vehicle rear-ending) were studied. Extensive research has been conducted regarding large trucks and the large difference between passenger cars and large trucks. The FMCSA studies all fatalities and serious injuries as a result of semi-truck crashes. In 18% of all rear-end crashes the truck was the striking vehicle, and there were more than three vehicles involved.  However, there were three or more vehicles involved in only 5 percent of the crashes where the truck was struck in the rear.

The large difference in mass of trucks and the mass of most passenger vehicles is vast and that may be one explanation of the phenomenon of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from rear-end semi-truck accidents.  Most passenger cars weigh around 4,000 to 5,000 lbs. opposed to large trucks than can weigh between 10,000 and 80,000 pounds.  If a semi-truck rear ends a passenger car, it will not necessarily stop or even slow down appreciably. The impact alone does relatively little to keep the truck from continuing on and involving other vehicles.  Conversely, when a vehicle strikes a semi-truck from behind, it generally does not move the truck.

Overall, trucks rear-ending other vehicles occur more often than being struck by other vehicles and this finding is expected.  The stopping distance required to slow and stop a large truck is considerably more than a passenger car.  According to a Michigan study for FMCSA, the Fatality Accident Complaint Team (FACT) said that trucks that are hit from have more lighting violations than those that hit other vehicles. Even though most truck crashes take place in daylight, almost half of the fatal rear-end crashes where trucks were struck by other vehicles occurred in dark but lighted

Regarding road conditions, one theme that stood out was that rear-end crashes are more likelyl to occur on divided highways, often interstates.  In these situations, vigilance of both truck drivers and drivers of other vehicles may be relaxed so that when a stopped or slower-moving vehicle appars in front, the driver is unable to quickly respond—this can be true for semi-truck drivers and passenger car drivers.

The information from the FMCSA is just that—information commonly found in semi-truck accident fatalities.  These statistics are not meant to draw conclusions about the tragic US 36 truck accident that resulted in the death of the St. Joseph man or his young daughter.  Investigators will need to examine the scene and physical evidence including the fatal injuries of the victims and witness statements to determine the cause.  Also, the mechanical difficulties of the semi-truck mentioned in the newspaper article will have to be evaluated regarding cause and contribution.

Semi-truck accidents are generally much more serious in nature because of the obvious size differential which can include serious physical injury or wrongful death.  To improve highway safety, we all want to know the causes and contributing factors in any motor vehicle accident and especially regarding large trucks as we all share the road.  Family members who have suffered such a traumatic loss often wonder what options they have.  If a driver was negligent or if the automobiles involved were not properly maintained and that led to an accident, then owners and operators have to be held accountable. Investigations and legal representation does not return the life and potential lost in an accident.  Financial and emotional losses to the family members are less often negotiated in an insurance settlement without the assistance of legal representation. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident or an auto accident, then you need information. Not all individuals that have been in an accident need representation. Call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or toll free 1(314) 276-1681 for free information.