Solutions to fatal truck crash increase are in truckers' hands

Truckers in West Virginia and across the nation can do something about the rise in fatal large truck crashes. During the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in early 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released some alarming figures. While the organization never said that truckers are behind the rise, the data suggests that several kinds of negligence are a factor.

Specifically, the FMCSA found that the percentage of all deadly crashes where at least one large truck was involved increased each year from 2015 to 2017 (the latest year for which the organization has data). The number of occupants in large trucks who died also went up each of those years. Deadly work zone accidents that involved at least one large truck went from 26.8 percent in 2015 to 30.4 percent in 2017.

Work zones are a particular area of concern as the establishment of National Work Zone Awareness Week demonstrates. With their higher visual horizon, truckers should give other drivers the benefit of knowing their actions ahead of time. This means signaling a turn long before the merging begins and using the flashers to warn against slowed or stopped traffic.

Lastly, truckers should guard against distractions. If hands-free calling is allowed, the phone should be placed where it cannot shift or fall. Seat, mirror and radio adjustments should be done before driving.

Distracted, drowsy and drunk driving are just a few possible forms of driver negligence. On the other hand, some commercial truck accidents can be caused indirectly through a negligent company. Defective parts, for example, would be the fault of the manufacturer. In any case, truck accident victims who are deemed to be less than 50 percent at fault may, under West Virginia's laws, be able to recover damages. They may consider hiring a lawyer to speak on their behalf during negotiations or the trial.

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