With some pushing for dedicated lanes on I-70 for big rigs and tractor trailers, I wanted to look at some statistics to see just how much more dangerous Missouri tractor trailer accidents are compared to passenger car crashes. Common sense would suggest that the large commercial shipping trucks with their tons of shipping freight would have a higher fatality rate. The numbers back this up and over the last few years, an accident involving a tractor trailer is two to three times more likely to produce a fatality than crashes involving only passenger cars.
Here are some of the raw numbers according to the Missouri Department of Transportation:
– Over the last couple years, Missouri has averaged over 8,400 accidents or crashes involving tractor trailers every year.
– In those accidents, an annual average of 154 fatalities was reported.
– In accidents where the tractor trailer was in the process of hauling a shipment, the fatality rate jumped to 2% meaning that in 1 out of every 50 Missouri crashes involving a loaded tractor trailer, somebody was killed.
– Missouri car accidents not involving a tractor trailer, while far more common, had a lower fatality rate. Of the 72,000+ car accidents every year, just 0.6% produced a fatality.
These statistics and the tragic stories behind them are what justify stricter regulation of the commercial shipping industry. While I’m not sure if having dedicated lanes on I-70 is part of the solution, it’s clear that tractor trailer crashes should be addressed differently than car accidents.
This concern goes further than highway design. Legal cases involving tractor trailers are handled differently than passenger car accidents. Punitive damages can be assessed to trucking companies that show a dangerous disregard for commercial trucking regulations. The laws for truck drivers are different than for the average driver, which is why an experienced Missouri accident lawyer should be contacted in the aftermath of a serious crash.