As the lanes on Interstate 44 in St. Louis County have narrowed, the number of car crashes on the same stretch of highway has expanded.
According to an analysis of Missouri Highway Patrol crash data by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the number of nonfatal injury and non-injury crashes on I-44 has jumped 27 percent since lane widths were reduced from 12 feet to 11 feet.
To accommodate increased traffic on I-44 as a result of the Highway 40 closures, the shoulders were trimmed and the lanes were narrowed. This allowed highway officials to add an extra lane.
Despite the fact that the speed limit was lowered from 60 mph to 55 mph, the number of accidents rose after the lanes were narrowed.
The increase is consistent with data compiled by the Federal Highway Administration. Post-Dispatch reporter Elisa Crouch writes in the Nov. 12 article:”The skinnier the lane, the less room there is for error.”
When lanes were narrowed to 11 feet, the crash risk rises to five percent. If the lanes were trimmed to ten feet, the risk would increase to 30 percent. As a result, the FHA recommends that interstates have lanes that are 12 feet wide.
The Missouri Department of Transportation also notes that increased traffic on I-44 could be contributing to the uptick in accidents. Since the Highway 40 closures, traffic is 10 to 30 percent heavier on I-44.
Other factors cited in the article as contributing to the rise in accidents include speeding and tailgating.
The greatest number of accidents on I-44 happens near the exit and entrance ramps at Lindbergh Boulevard, Big Bend Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue.
At The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. we hope you can avoid a future accident. However, if you were unfortunate enough to be involved in an auto accident, rest assured that help is available. Please schedule a free consultation with motor vehicle accident attorney Chris Hoffmann by calling us at (314) 361-4242 or filling out our online contact form.