Throughout St. Louis, Missouri, and Southern Illinois, thousands of people are hurt or killed in auto accidents every year. The statistics are troubling, especially considering that many of these accidents could have been prevented.
At The Bruning Law Firm, we believe those car accident victims should never be treated like another claim number or statistic. Our dedicated car accident attorneys treat each client with respect and compassion. We take a personalized approach to each case, analyzing exactly what happened, determining who should be held accountable and demanding the justice our clients deserve. Schedule a free case consultation with our skilled legal team today.
Despite pandemic shutdowns that caused many people to work from home, the number of car accidents throughout Missouri has increased, particularly in urban areas like St. Louis. Authorities believe that the increase results from drivers traveling at higher rates of speed and other human errors, including distracted driving.
If you suffered an injury in a St. Louis car accident resulting from someone else’s reckless actions, you can seek compensation.
The Missouri personal claims process can help you recover monetary awards to take care of your medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. An experienced car accident lawyer from Bruning Law Firm can walk you through the process and inform you about our firm’s services.
Table of Contents
- How Many Car Accidents Occur in St. Louis Each Year?
- What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in St. Louis?
- The Types of Crashes that Occur on St. Louis Roadways
- The Types of Injuries Experienced in St. Louis Car Accidents
- Car Accident in St. Louis? We Can Help
- Our Practice Areas
How Many Car Accidents Occur in St. Louis Each Year?
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were more than 14,000 crashes on the city’s roadways in a year.
These crashes included:
- 76 fatal accidents, with 81 people dying in St. Louis car accidents
- 3,892 accidents involving personal injury, with 6,139 people injured
- More than 10,000 accidents featuring property damage only
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in St. Louis?
“Nearly every fatal crash that occurs is preventable,” said Missouri State Highway Patrol Public Information and Education Director, Cpt. John Hotz, upon announcing that traffic-related accidents had increased 12 percent throughout the state during the pandemic. “Over 90 percent of these crashes were the result of someone simply making a poor decision, primarily: driving too fast, driving distracted, or driving impaired. Many of those killed were not wearing a seat belt.”
Here is a look at the most common causes of car accidents in St. Louis.
According to the Highway Patrol, 1,348 of the traffic-related accidents in St. Louis involve a speeding driver. That makes speeding one of the most common causes of car accidents in St. Louis. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explained that speeding is a factor in about a quarter of all traffic accidents occurring in the U.S. each year. Speeding poses many hazards for the driver and occupants of other vehicles on the roadway.
Some of the dangers include:
- A reduction in the time the driver needs to perceive a hazard on the roadway and respond to it by braking.
- An increase in the distance the vehicle will travel before the brakes can stop the vehicle.
- An increase in the severity of an accident due to the greater force caused by the higher speed.
- An increase in the likelihood that the driver cannot control the vehicle.
- The difficulty other road users face in gauging a safe gap in traffic due to the unexpected speed of the approaching vehicle.
Distracted driving is another major cause of accidents both in St. Louis and throughout the U.S.
Driving distractions include anything that:
- Causes the driver to take their hands from the wheel;
- Causes the driver to avert their eyes from watching the roadway; and
- Causes the driver’s thoughts to wander from the task of driving safely.
Traffic analysts are concerned with texting and other cell phone use while driving, as this activity results in all three types of driving distractions. When traveling at highway speeds, in the time it takes a driver to read or reply to a text, they will have traveled the length of a football field without watching the road, correctly positioning both hands on the steering wheel, and paying attention to what is going on around them.
Driving While Impaired
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol impairment is a factor in around 28 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., with 29 people dying in drunk driving accidents around the country every single day of the year. Seventeen percent of the children and teens who die in motor vehicle accidents are with impaired drivers.
More than 7,000 crashes occur on Missouri roadways each year due to impaired drivers. Alcohol impairment alone led to 121 fatal crashes and caused injuries to nearly 2,600 people. Alcohol and drugs impair the body’s central nervous system, creating deficits in the driver’s skills.
Unfortunately, while the legal impairment limit in St. Louis for adults over 21 is 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, the deficits caused by alcohol begin long before the driver has reached the legal impairment limit. Instead, these deficits start to occur after the first drink.
Some of the impacts of alcohol on a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle include:
- Difficulty tracking moving targets
- The inability to focus on more than one activity at a time
- Difficulty maintaining a single lane of travel
- Difficulty braking and steering appropriately
- The inability to control speed
- Difficulty making good decisions
Other Causes of St. Louis Accidents
While speeding, distracted driving, and alcohol impairment are the most common causes of car accidents in St. Louis, several other risky driving behaviors can also result in accidents.
- Tailgating, which involves one vehicle following another vehicle too closely. Tailgating is the leading cause of rear-end accidents, which are some of the most common intersection accidents.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way at red lights, stop signs, or when pulling onto or merging. Failure to yield often results from distracted driving, alcohol impairment, or even the inability to stop due to the vehicle traveling at too high a speed.
- Young drivers, whose inexperience behind the wheel can lead to motor vehicle accidents. Common mistakes that teen drivers make include driving too fast, without the experience to control the vehicle; distracted driving, with texting and friends in the vehicle posing extreme hazards to others on the roadway; taking unnecessary risks and being overconfident in their ability to drive safely.
- Older drivers, who can experience age-related declines in vision and cognitive function that can lead to car accidents. In the U.S., about 20 drivers over 65 die in car accidents each day, and around 700 suffer injuries due to traffic crashes.
- Vehicle problems, such as tire blowouts, resulting from lack of maintenance or defective parts.
The Types of Crashes that Occur on St. Louis Roadways
The roadways of St. Louis feature every type of motor vehicle accident that can occur, including:
- Rear-end accidents, which occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another. This is one of the most common types of accidents to occur. However, contrary to popular belief, these accidents are not always minor fender-benders. Drivers following others too closely killed 24 people died, and injured more than 5,500 in two years in Missouri.
- Head-on collisions, which occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the front of another vehicle. While rear-end accidents are among the most common type of accidents on Missouri roadways, head-on collisions are one of the most deadly, with more than 10 percent of all traffic-related fatalities attributed to them.
- Broadside (T-bone) collisions, which occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another. Along with rear-ending accidents, broadside collisions most often occur in the intersection. They are generally the result of one driver failing to yield the right-of-way to another. Broadside accidents are overrepresented in state traffic fatality totals, as there is not much protection afforded to people sitting on the side of the vehicle that the other car struck. This is especially true when there is a large discrepancy between the vehicles involved in the collision. For example, an accident in which a pickup truck broadsides a small passenger vehicle will often produce severe or fatal injuries to the occupants sitting on the side of the vehicle that was hit.
- Sideswipe accidents, which occur when the side of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle. Improper merging, when a driver attempts to move into a travel lane without first clearing it, causes many sideswipe accidents.
- Rollover accidents, which occur when the vehicle either rolls due to a high center of gravity or imbalanced cargo or because an obstacle, such as a median or even another car, tripped the wheels. Rollovers are common in accidents involving semi-trucks, as they have a high center of gravity.
- Single-vehicle accidents, which may include pedestrian accidents. In Missouri, accidents injure nearly 3,000 pedestrians and kill more than 200 each year due to single-vehicle accidents.
- Multi-car pileups. These are most common on the interstate, where speeds are high enough that drivers have a difficult time stopping when an accident occurs in front of them before colliding with the wreckage.
The Types of Injuries Experienced in St. Louis Car Accidents
Car accidents produce some of the most traumatic injuries possible, including injuries to the organs that make up the body’s central nervous system—the spinal cord and the brain. Each of these organs plays an important role in the body’s ability to function but has only a limited ability to heal from injury. This leaves a high likelihood of permanent disabilities that will prevent a victim from earning an income or living independently. Because of this, brain and spinal cord injuries are considered catastrophic.
Other types of injuries that can occur in St. Louis car accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs
- Internal damage, such as injuries to bodily organs or bleeding
- Lacerations, which can result in scarring
- Burns due to flames or contact with caustic chemicals used to make the vehicle run
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash in the neck as a result of a rear-end accident
Car Accident in St. Louis? We Can Help
Being injured in a car accident in St. Louis can affect every part of your life, including your ability to earn a living and accomplish daily tasks. As noted by Captain Hotz of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, drivers can prevent most car accidents, as they result from risky driving.
If you fell victim to a car crash due to someone else’s careless behavior, a St. Louis car accident attorney from The Bruning Law Firm can help you understand your rights. If we take on your case, we will fight for your right to compensation and set you up with a contingent fee billing method that will allow us to start working on your case right away.
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Our Practice Areas
With more than 35 years of experience successfully representing St. Louis residents in personal injury cases, our attorneys have handled a variety of claims, including: