Posted on May 1st, 2019 by Zane Cagle
Freightliner Crosses Center Line and Strikes Car in Crawford County
Last Thursday afternoon, a 77 year-old woman of Steelville, Missouri was killed when a 2006 Freightliner crossed the center line and struck her Buick on Highway 19, south of Highway 8 Junction in Crawford County. The victim was transferred to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur and died.
According to reports, the tractor-trailer was traveling on the highway when it crossed the center line. At this time, the reason for the tractor trailer crossing the center line is not clear.
Commercial Drivers are Held To Higher Standards
Commercial drivers are held to a higher safety standard since they operate vehicles that weigh literally tens of thousands of pounds, many times greater than a passenger vehicle. As fellow drivers on the roadways with tractor-trailers, we have to be able to trust that truck drivers will obey the rules of the roadway and use the utmost safety. When a truck driver fails to follow a rule of the road such as driving only in their lane, the consequences are usually catastrophic. Accident reconstruction experts study the crash including physical evidence and witness statements. For the sake of future safety and determining liability, the reconstruction is critical after a truck crash. As well, accident reconstructions are done to advance safety. Meaning, these crashes are studied individually and added to research to study causes of crashes and ways to prevent future crashes. However, knowing that the research from your loved one’s crash may or may not contribute to the future safety really does little to console the family in the meantime. There are many pressing questions to those who have been hurt in a tractor trailer crash. Those pressing questions should not be negotiated alone without legal advice.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, it appears the Steelville woman was simply driving down the highway with a her seat belt when this tractor trailer crossed the center line and hit her.
Words fail me in trying to describe the nightmare of seeing any vehicle coming at you head-on, let alone a tractor trailer. As we all travel the highways and interstates with tractor-trailers, we are ever conscious of the whereabouts of semi-trucks in the next lane, behind or in front of us. Often, I see commercial carriers driving with the upmost care. However, when they do make a driving error, it is catastrophic.
Truck crashes are very different than passenger-vehicle only crashes. For one, they are typically far more serious due to the inequality of the size and weight. Second, they are far more complicated when negotiating with the insurance carriers. If you have been seriously injured in a truck crash or have lost a family member in a truck collision, you should not be talking to the insurance carrier. One, take care of you and your family. There are steps that you must take for the sake of your family whether it is medical treatment or going through the extremely difficult process of planning a end of life ceremony. Insurance companies may attempt to negotiate with you way too early, especially if there was a fatality. You should not rush into ANY negotiations with insurance companies if you are hurt or if you have lost a family member. There are simply too many questions that are unanswered and it only works to the insurance carrier’s benefit to rush you into a settlement.
Common Causes of Truck Crashes
While inattentiveness is the number one cause of all motor vehicle collisions, driver fatigue and equipment issues impact commercial drivers:
Driver fatigue. While driver fatigue can happen to any driver, it is common among truck drivers, especially over the road haulers. Often transportation companies have unrealistic expectations of truck drivers, thus the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has gotten involved over the years to attempt to make commercial drivers more safe. To combat driver fatigue, FMCSA implemented Hours of Service. Hours of service is a safety requirement that drivers will only drive for certain lengths of time and must have appropriate rests. However, driver fatigue is still a major problem in the trucking industry.
Truck equipment failure– Again, the FMCSA requires that drivers and transportation companies must do frequent equipment checks. Typically, big rig operators have pre-and post checks daily of their truck. When an equipment malfunction or failure occurs, it is often results in serious injuries and fatalities.
Failure to Stop Tractor-trailers fail to stop for a number of reasons. One, the stopping distance for a semi-truck is considerably longer than a passenger vehicle. So, if a tractor-trailer driver is inattentive for even a few seconds he or she can fail to hit the brakes in time and hit another vehicle. An overloaded truck or a truck with poorly adjusted brakes may contribute to a truck failing to stop at a stop sign or crosswalk. Failing to stop or slow down in the appropriate amount of time and distance can cause catastrophic injuries to other motorists and the truck driver as well.
At this point, we do not know the cause of the fatal truck crash that occurred last Thursday, but all of us need to know exactly how it happened that a commercial truck could cross the center line, strike and kill a person who was in their lane.
Working with an Attorney to Determine Causes and Compensation
Most often, victims and family members must work with an attorney to fully discover all of the causes of a tractor-trailer crash. More often than not, a transportation company does not want to openly share that information or results of an crash resconstruction. Yet, we know this information is critical in supporting our client’s claims of injury. Semi-trucks cause large and serious injuries when they crash, thus, their insurance carriers do make it simple for the unrepresented to get fair compensation.
After a commercial crash, we know the complexity of the problems for victims and their families. We are skilled in the investigative process required and of course, the litigation process often needed to attain compensation for our clients.
Call us toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.276.1681