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Self-driving 18-wheelers to start rolling on highways

For some of our St. Louis readers, the news that Waymo’s self-driving trucks are returning to the roads will offer hope for the future, while for others the news will be disturbing. Waymo is Google’s self-driving vehicles division, recently announced that after a two-year hiatus, it is putting its autonomous tractor-trailers back on freeways.

The company’s long-term goal is to reduce the cost of trucking with fuel-efficient, computer-piloted 18-wheelers that do not cause tractor-trailer crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities.

Interstate tractor-trailer crashes leave six dead

According to news reports, two people were recently killed in a violent collision on Interstate 44 just south of downtown St. Louis. A spokesperson for the city's fire department said the pair died when their car slammed into the back of a stopped tractor-trailer near the 7th Street exit.

The 47-year-old big rig driver told police that he had slowed and then stopped because of lane closures near a construction zone in the eastbound lanes. The trucker said that before the truck crash, he had activated his hazard lights to warn motorists behind his 18-wheeler that he was stopping.

Excited for the weekend? Stay alert at the wheel

What’s the most dangerous time to drive Missouri’s roads? Given how many accidents involve alcohol, you would have good reason to guess a Friday or Saturday night—right around bar close. But you’d be wrong.

According to statistics from the State of Missouri’s STARS Reporting, people suffer more injuries from accidents during the end-of-day rush hour. In 2018, there were more accidents on Friday than any other day, and there was a noticeable spike of accidents between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

St. Louis truck crash leaves six in critical condition

According to a news report from a St. Louis TV station, six people were seriously injured in a crash early this morning. Officials said that just before 2 this morning, an 18-wheeler and a car collided on Gravois Avenue near the 55-44 split.

The truck driver told law enforcement officials that the car had swerved back and forth as it headed north and that he tried to avoid it, but the two vehicles collided anyway. The tractor-trailer also struck a vehicle parked on the side of the highway, police said.

What puts you at risk for a fatal rollover crash?

Car crashes make the headlines nearly every day, but there are some that just sound scarier than others. Among the scariest of those crashes are the dreaded rollover.

There’s good reason to be terrified by the idea that your vehicle would ever roll onto its side or roof. Rollovers cause a disproportionate number of serious injuries and fatalities. Only about 3% of all crashes are rollovers, but they lead to about 30% of all traffic deaths. So what puts you at risk of suffering a rollover like the one that recently took place on I-70?

Studies examine media bias in articles on bicycle-vehicle crashes

It is apparently a coincidence that two recent studies tackled the same issue at the same time, but it is no coincidence that they arrived at basically the same conclusion. The studies both looked at inaccuracy and bias in mainstream media reports on crashes involving drivers and bicyclists.

The studies both concluded that journalists too often use questionable, victim-blaming phrasing when reporting on the collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles.

Turning semi-trailers can be hazardous for other drivers

Because of their large size, semi-trailers have limitations when maneuvering. A semi-trailer’s turn radius is one of those limitations. Right turns require a tighter turn than left turns, so right turns can be especially difficult for a truck driver to execute.

Because of how long semi-trailers are, the rear tires follow a narrower path than the front tires follow when turning. To safely complete a right turn, the cab of a semi-trailer must swing wide, so that the rear tires of the trailer do not jump the curb. Alternatively, a truck driver may start a right turn from a left lane.

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

After a long, cold winter, spring has finally broken in St. Louis and across Missouri. One of the surest signs that the seasons have changed is the reappearance of motorcycles and their riders. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents, injuries and fatalities also reappear at this time of year.

Because May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the National Safety Council is urging everyone to increase their focus on traffic safety. That means that motorcyclists and those who are behind the wheels of four-wheeled vehicles both have important roles to play until the weather again turns cold and cycles are stored away.

Recovery is possible

If you’ve ever been involved in a car crash, you know how scary they can be, and you know how suddenly everything can change. In a split-second, an injury can change your life forever. But the story of a young woman from O’Fallon reminds us that recovery is possible.

KSDK-TV recently featured the story of a woman who was struck by a car while she was jogging. She was severely injured and needed multiple brain surgeries. She lost her ability to speak, and her doctors said she would never walk again. Six years later, she had learned how to speak again, and she was able to join her sisters for an alumni soccer game. She scored two goals.

Missouri texting ban proposal aims to curb distracted driving

The U.S. is down to just three states that permit people to text while driving. You guessed it: Missouri is one of the states, along with Montana and Arizona. It should be noted that Missouri does restrict drivers age 21 and under from texting while behind the wheel.

The dangers of distracted driving are well documented, of course. By now, everyone should understand that using electronics while driving dramatically increases the risks of causing a motor vehicle crash, injuries and fatalities.

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