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K. Lindsay Rakers
K. Lindsay Rakers
Attorney • (314) 588-8500

Is MoDot Responsible for Recent Missouri Car Crashes?

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Last Thursday, the St. Louis Missouri region received light snofall which created icy conditions on the roadways. It was well-known that the snowfall was approaching. Yet, MoDot (Missouri Department of Transportation) made the decision to not pre-treat the roads and highways the previous day. Unfortunately, the light snowfall snarled traffic immediately during morning rush hour. Some Missourians claimed their usual 30 minute commute took between 2-3 hours. Many cars slid off the roadways into ditches, into other cars, into phone poles. Manchester Road was essentially a parking lot with very slow moving traffic all day.

Motorists were frustrated because this was a minor storm – not even a storm really at all. The St. Louis, Missouri area had been lucky to date as it had not had any extreme winter weather at all. Motorists felt MoDot had plenty of time to prepare for the snow and ice.

MoDot's Director recently admitted that MoDot didn't get the job done on Thursday in an interview with radio station KMOX. The question now becomes – what about all of the crashes that occured Thursday? Many motorists reported that they believed other motorists were providing enough space between coars and watching speed. Yet, cars still slid on the slick roadways. The lack of pre-treatment meant the snow, even though it was a small amount, turned to dangerous black ice which resulted in seemingly avoidable car accidents throughout Missouri and the metro-east Illinois. Is MoDot to blame, at least in part, for their role in these crashes? Typically, as a Missouri car crash attorney, I think of claims against the negligent (at-fault) drivers when a car accident occurs. But sometimes, there are more to blame than just the driver.

In 2009, I handled a case against MoDot in connection with a fatal accident on 44 west in St. Louis, Missouri. MoDot knew for months that traffic was backing up onto the highway and did nothing about it. My client was helplessly stopped in traffic when she was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer who's driver could not stop in time. While the truck driver was certainly partly to blame for the crash, had MoDot warned about the traffic back-up (which it knew about), perhaps drivers could have planned better. The truck driver in this case was from out of town and was not aware that this lane, which was one of 4, backed up at that time of day. We filed suit against MoDot (Missouri Department of Transportation/Missouri Highway Transportation Commision) for it's role in the case.

Perhaps these crashes occuring last Thursday, at least in Missouri, occured in part because of MoDot's lack of planning and lack of action.

Lindsay Rakers, Missouri truck crash attorney, car crash attorney