With a population of well over six million, the state of Missouri is the United States’ 18th most populous one. As per the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT), traffic congestion is a growing problem across Missouri’s interstates.
However, one can argue that its highways are extremely capable of handling heavy wheel traffic. This US state’s highway system also ranked among the top 15 in the country. Sadly, this does not spare motorists from witnessing the repercussions of driver indiscretion.
The Highway Patrol’s Troop D reported that a single holiday weekend led to over 100 crashes across the state’s southwest counties. It was later discovered that not maintaining the speed limit, lack of wearing helmets or seatbelts, and distracted driving were among the leading causes.
Another such instance was the rise in accidents during the Labor Day weekend, with a total of 9 fatalities and 146 injuries. Despite some measures and robust infrastructure, the state is experiencing a road safety crisis.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons for the rising numbers of road accidents across Missouri along with their aftermath and safety practices that may help rectify the situation.
Table of Contents
Reasons for Rising Cases of Road Accidents
Before we get into the different reasons why Missouri’s roads are witnessing a steep rise in accident numbers, it’s important to remember that most of them are preventable. If every driver does their bit to follow safety regulations, no lives will be lost, limbs severed, or bones broken.
The following are the most common causes of road crashes across Missouri –
- The number one cause is driving at a high speed or beyond the permissible speed limit. This interferes with the driver’s ability to control the vehicle, thereby leading to head-on collisions, overturning, etc.
- The second factor is driver intoxication. Drugs and alcohol in excess can make the driver feel empowered, leading them to make rash driving decisions.
- The third reason is distracted driving. This would include activities like texting, talking, listening to loud music, eating, etc., while behind the wheel.
- Driver fatigue is another reason behind gruesome road accidents across Missouri. This factor is most common among overworked commercial truck drivers who may fall asleep while driving.
- Then there are certain factors not entirely under the driver’s control, including lack of signage and inclement weather conditions.
The Devastating Aftermath
Accidents that occur due to speed often lead to fatalities, given the force with which a vehicle impacts the other. If the collision involved two or more cars, there may be some scope for survival. However, commercial truck accidents are a whole different story.
In several cases, the victim dies or barely survives with severe injuries. These may include vision loss, severed limbs, multiple broken bones, paraplegia, permanent cognitive failure, and spinal cord injuries, among others.
Besides the sad immediate consequences, Missouri’s road accidents usually involve a tedious legal battle. Let’s take the example of a city that has earned a reputation for notoriety in this regard. Missouri’s St. Louis was ranked among the most dangerous US cities, one of the reasons being the high rates of road accidents.
If a car were to collide with another, the victim could file an insurance claim. In most cases, this hardly offers fair compensation in light of the insurer trying to save money. The victim may then file a lawsuit and seek the professional assistance of a car accident lawyer in St. Louis.
Even the insurance company will bring its entire team of lawyers to put up a tough legal battle. Attorneys prepare themselves to fight the case using a series of interactions, witness interviews, evidence collection, and more. If possible, the victim can take a few steps to turn the case in their favor.
TorHoerman Law suggests contacting police officials and medical professionals, refraining from discussing fault, and closely working with the legal team for the best outcome. If the accident involved a large commercial truck, matters get even more complicated. This is because there may be multiple liable parties and insurers to deal with.
In any case, the victim must wait several months before settlements appear over the horizon. Not to mention all this must be done while recovering from the physical, mental, and emotional suffering the accident caused.
Measures That May Help Rectify the Situation
Considering the dire condition of the state’s road rage, it’s high time that strict action is taken at all levels. Barring the road safety measures already in place, let’s look at some fresh perspectives on how the situation may be rectified.
- The state could strengthen its public transportation system and encourage citizens to use it more often. Even awareness regarding carpooling may be increased to reduce the number of vehicles entering Missouri’s interstates.
- In the case of multiple highway lanes, a few could be merged to have three to four lanes at most. Among these, the wider ones can be dedicated to 18-wheeler trucks and trailers.
- The state’s officials must run thorough checks to see if all interstates and intersections have proper signage. The signs must be visible from a distance, and the citizens must understand their meaning well. If any road lacks signage, citizens should directly contact government officials.
- Random checkpoints should be set up across the counties, especially at risky intersections. Drivers must be checked and penalized for speed, distractions, and intoxication.
- Drivers can do their part by following traffic rules and avoiding overtaking or other dangerous maneuvers.
- If a driver feels the urgent need to text or call, they must park the vehicle at the corner rather than hasten headlong to their demise.
- Commercial truck drivers and their employers must ensure nobody behind the wheel is overworked or under the influence of alcohol.
Another major problem is that many residents drive for practically everything, even a nearby visit to the grocery store. However convenient this may be, it only adds to traffic congestion and accident problems.
Counties within the state can focus on developing more walkable communities. This will encourage Missouri’s drivers to leave their cars behind and promote greater physical activity and social interactions.
If not walking, separate lanes may be created for cyclists. Nobody wants to miss the fun of a joyride around town on affordable bikes. Such simple measures can also work wonders to take off fuel-powered vehicles from Missouri’s roads.