It can’t be argued that commercial truck drivers provide a valuable service to countless businesses and consumers across the U.S. Without this type of transportation, it would be much more difficult to get goods and mail delivered to other areas of the country. However, truck driving is a dangerous occupation, and the risks aren’t limited solely to those who drive these large vehicles. Anyone who shares the road with a trucker in Missouri has a chance of getting into a serious truck accident.

Many people are seriously injured or killed in trucking accidents in the state each year. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were 104 fatal crashes and 2,129 personal injury crashes involving commercial trucks in the state in 2012.

Long driving hours for truckers may contribute to risk of accidents

Most drivers understand that driving while fatigued carries a great risk of causing an accident. In order to prevent drowsy driving, there are laws that govern how many hours a truck driver is allowed to drive each week, says Insurance News Net. However, after taking a needed break, a truck driver is able to get back on the road, resulting in an average work week of 82 hours for many truckers. These extraordinary driving hours may have contributed to a significant rise in truck accident rates across the U.S. since 2009.

Other factors that can contribute to truck crashes

Driving while fatigued may be a major reason many truck drivers get into crashes, but there are other common factors, says Science Daily. These include the following:

  • Speeding or reckless driving.
  • Aggressive driving.
  • Alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Restricted side view.

Another risk factor that may be more outside of a driver’s control, but can still contribute to dangerous conditions if the driver isn’t careful, is poor weather, including wind, rain, fog and snow.

Because of the size and speed of large commercial trucks, crashes are frequently catastrophic for those in smaller vehicles. Recently in Platte County, a semi-truck driver crossed the center line of the highway and struck two vehicles, reported KCTV news. A mother driving an SUV was killed, while her 7-year-old son suffered serious injuries. A man driving a pickup truck was also hospitalized with minor injuries. According to police, the truck driver had been under the influence of alcohol. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and two counts of assault.

When to contact an attorney

If you’ve been in an accident caused by an intoxicated truck driver, you deserve experienced representation. Contact a personal injury attorney, who can discuss whether you may be eligible for the compensation of your medical expenses and other losses.