Big Rig Accidents in Missouri
In 2014, Missouri saw an increase in both passenger vehicle crashes and semi-truck accidents (on an annual level). Speed, poor driver choices and the use of alcohol/illicit substances contributed to the biggest number of crashes, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported.
While heavy truck crashes don’t occur very often, they can have disastrous consequences. The size of these vehicles and the fact that they sometimes carry hazardous cargo can both contribute to a big number of injuries and fatalities.
Fatal crashes involving big trucks went down significantly in the period from 2009 to 2011. Unfortunately, an increase in such accidents has been recorded in in 2014 and 2015.
Numbers for 2016 and 2017 aren’t painting a brighter picture. In 2016, 4,581 crashes involving big rigs occurred. They contributed to 125 fatalities and over 2,140 injuries. Data for 2017 so far suggests that 592 vehicles have been involved in 567 big truck crashes. These caused 13 fatalities and 242 injuries.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol report for 2014 suggests that hazardous material transportation was involved in six of the fatal crashes that occurred during the year. Hazardous material spillage occurred in two of the fatal accidents and 12 of the non-fatal ones.
Semi-trucks can transport an array of dangerous substances. The most common hazmat collisions feature trucks carrying flammable liquids or gases, corrosive materials, explosives or oxidizing substances.
There have been reports about hazmat big rig crashes in Missouri over the past few years. In May 2017, a truck carrying pesticides overturned on the highway near St. Louis. A hazmat team got involved to clear the road quickly.
Another accident that occurred in April 2016 involved three trucks, one of them carrying batteries. Two of the trucks that collided caught fire but fortunately, an explosion did not occur.
Human error is one of the leading cause of accidents. Although they usually have professional training, big rig drivers can get involved in risky behavior, speeding and even driving under the influence. Fatigue can be a contributing factor, as well.
The Highway Patrol doesn’t have statistics pertaining specifically to the causes of semi-truck accidents. Rather, contributing factors have been examined for all kinds of crashes.
On a national level, some of the most common causes of truck collisions include the following:
- Vehicle problems (brake issues, tire issues, etc.)
- Driver that’s going at a speed too high for the conditions
- Roadway problems and unfamiliar roads
- Driver fatigue
- Inadequate surveillance
- Distracted driving
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Illegal maneuvering
- Cargo shift
These are numbers derived from the Large Truck Crash Causation Study that’s based on data for 141.000 large vehicles involved in collisions.