A car accident outside St. Joseph sent one of the drivers to the hospital. The incident highlights the dangers of passing other vehicles on the roadway.
Car Accident After Pickup Truck Tries Passing Another Vehicle
According to initial reports, the incident happened during the evening of Friday, November 16, 2018. A pickup truck was traveling southbound on Highway 59 near the town of Rushville, southwest of St. Joseph. The pickup truck moved into the northbound lane to pass another vehicle on the single lane road. However, the truck was not able to return to the southbound lane before colliding with an oncoming vehicle.
Despite the head on collision, the driver of the pickup truck only suffered minor injuries. The other driver involved in the crash refused medical treatment on the scene.
An important note about the collision: Reports indicate that no citations were issued.
Traffic Laws Regulate Passing Drivers
Missouri has several laws that regulate how and when drivers can pass others on the road. When the roadway has only two lanes—one lane in each direction—those laws are rigid and very strict.
Missouri Statute 304.015 states possibly the most general rule of the road: Drivers have to keep on the right side of the road, unless a valid exception applies.
One of those valid exceptions, though, is for “overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.” However, drivers who choose to pass another vehicle have to abide by the rules that regulate passing.
These rules are found at Missouri Statute 304.016. Most of them focus on the driver who is actively overtaking the other vehicle on the left hand side. They require the driver to:
- Give enough room between their vehicle and the one they are passing
- Not return to the right lane “until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle”
- Never pass another vehicle when approaching a hill or a turn in the road that prevents the driver from seeing a safe distance
- Never pass another vehicle within 100 feet of a bridge, tunnel, intersection, or railroad crossing
- Only cross the centerline if the oncoming lane is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for long enough for the pass to be completed without “interfering with the safe operation” of any oncoming vehicle
Violating any of these rules of the road can lead to misdemeanor charges because of how they put other drivers at risk.
Traffic Rules Also Regulate Drivers Being Passed
However, not all of the traffic laws that deal with passing maneuvers focus on the driver who is doing the passing. An important rule applies to the driver who is being passed, as well.
Missouri Statute 304.016 also requires drivers in the vehicle being overtaken to “give way to the right” while the pass is being attempted, and not speed up until the pass is completed.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph
Based on these initial reports, including the report that no citations were issued for the crash, it is possible that the police think that the driver of the overtaken vehicle in this situation sped up while the pass was underway. If this were not the case, the pickup driver would likely have been cited for an unsafe pass.
The sudden complexity of what seemed like a straightforward accident highlights the importance of having a personal injury and car accident lawyer representing you both inside and outside of the courtroom. Call the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online.