Accidents involving large trucks are often more severe than other accidents on West Virginia highways because of the size of big rigs relative to other vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that it will be working with different representatives from the trucking industry to provide education about the benefits of safety technologies, including lane departure warning systems and automatic emergency braking. The administrator of the FMCSA also announced a pilot program that will put younger drivers behind the wheel of large trucks.
The program allows drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to drive big rigs on interstate routes if they have a background in military transportation. Outside of the pilot program, people under the age of 21 are restricted from driving from state to state, though they might be qualified to operate on intrastate routes. The American Trucking Association has advocated allowing 18- to 20-year-olds to drive semi-trucks even without a military transportation background if they complete 400 training hours.
The effort to bring younger drivers onto the road stalled at the federal legislative level in 2018. A bill called the Drive Safe Act would have altered the laws to allow younger truck drivers, but it was met with opposition from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association, who said younger truckers would have less experience and be more likely to cause accidents.
In a case where a person is injured in a West Virginia semi trucking accident, he or she may have claims to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. A lawyer with experience practicing personal injury law might be able to help in such cases by identifying parties that have liability or gathering evidence to build a case for trial. A lawyer may also be able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement for money damages.