A 45-year-old man was injured when his vehicle struck multiple trees along the roadway in Miller County on the evening of Friday, December 11th. The accident occurred at 6:02 p.m. on Missouri Highway 17, approximately 1.5 miles south of Iberia. The pickup truck reportedly crossed the center line, and then struck a ditch and several trees. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the injured party is from the Iberia area and he was operating a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado at the time of the incident. He was transported by helicopter to the University Hospital in Columbia for treatment of injuries considered serious in nature by emergency services.
Accidents involving fixed objects, like the one described above, are quite common. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that 11,389 persons were killed or injured in accidents involving fixed objects in 2011 in Missouri. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 20% of deaths resulting from traffic accidents involve a vehicle leaving the roadway and striking an object located nearby. Objects that are struck by vehicles most often are trees, utility poles, traffic signs, and highway medians.
Since the majority of fixed-object accidents occur when drivers veer off of the roadway, the best way to prevent accidents of this kind is to avoid behaviors that increase the risk of leaving the road. The most common contributing factors for vehicles exiting the roadway are: inattention, alcohol, excess speed, falling asleep at the wheel, and poor visibility. Scenarios involving striking off-the-road objects can easily be prevented by remaining vigilant, obeying all traffic laws, and delaying travel when the weather is poor or drowsiness is likely.