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Freightliner Hits Tow Truck On I-270

A freightliner heavy truck hit a Florissant, Missouri resident on eastbound Interstate 270 on June 1, 2012. The accident occurred in the evening of that day at 8:20pm. The exact location of the accident was slightly east of West Florissant Road in St. Louis County.

Samuel J. Crocker of Alton, Illinois was driving his 2009 freightliner eastbound on I-270 shortly before the accident. Mitchel S. Phillip was driving his 2004 Ford F650 Tow Truck eastbound. Phillip was slightly ahead of Crocker and both were traveling in the same lane. For unknown reasons, Phillip slowed down when driving and Crocker’s freightliner collided with the rear of Phillip’s Ford tow truck. Both vehicles sustained total damage as a result of the accident.

Missouri State Highway Patrol responded and determined that Phillip was moderately injured as a result of the accident. Christian Ambulance services later transported Phillip to Depaul Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri for medical attention.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes that a driver slowing down on the highway could create a hazard to either him or herself or to other motorists if the driver is significantly slower than the flow of traffic. To deal with this issue, the NHTSA has recognized the existence of the “Minimum Speed Rule.” This rule ideally prohibits a driver to slow down to a speed that would interfere with “normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” With that said, the NHTSA also gives enough room for drivers to operate their vehicles at a slower speed when “reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.” Such scenarios may include adverse weather conditions that require slower driving speeds, transporting heavy objects on commercial vehicles, or sudden and unexpected mechanical difficulties that may make high speed driving impossible. The Uniform Vehicle Code § 11-809(a) serves as an example for a minimum speed limit that states may adopt.

Missouri statute § 304.015.3 states that motorists driving less than the normal speed of traffic must drive on the right-most lane of the highway. More often than not, Missouri highways will have posted minimum speed limits (commonly 40 mph) or have special speed restrictions for heavy trucks. This also applies to vehicles that may spontaneously slow down on the highway: it may be not safe or prudent for a highway driver to slow down on a fast-paced highway suddenly. However, Missouri motorists must remember that minimum speed limits are valid and other motorists may exercise their ability to drive at the minimum on the highway. For larger vehicles like trucks, it becomes much harder to suddenly slow down if a vehicle ahead of him or her slows down. Without taking precautions like maintaining proper distance from vehicles or driving in a careful manner, a semi-truck could more likely cause a Missouri semi-truck accident with serious or fatal injuries for a driver operating near the minimum speed. If this occurred, please consult a Missouri semi-truck and heavy truck accident lawyer.