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.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recorded another annual increase in commercial motor vehicle fatalities. In 2017, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were 5,005 such fatalities. In contrast, 2009 saw 3,193 CMV crash deaths. Drivers in West Virginia should know that 4,164 out of those 5,005 fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles.
Large truck crashes are some of the most serious on America's roads. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there were 3,986 truck crash fatalities in 2016: a 27 percent jump from 2009. Of those fatalities, 66 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles and 17 percent were truck occupants. Since drivers of passenger vehicles are to blame for the majority of truck crashes, it's essential to know how to stay safe.
Thousands of road users in West Virginia and around the country are injured or killed every year in accidents involving tractor-trailers, and many of these crashes are caused by trucks with poorly maintained or defective braking systems. Efforts to address this problem include the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Brake Safety Week, which is scheduled to commence on Sept. 16. During the weeklong safety initiative, trucks will be subjected to rigorous Level I inspections and will be ordered out of service if inspectors discover barking or other safety issues that place other road users in danger.
West Virginia requires school bus operators to complete a training program and earn a certification before they are permitted to get behind the wheel. Many other states have similar safety programs in place; however, accidents that involved school buses claimed the lives of 1,344 people between 2004 and 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The safety agency released a report containing data about these fatal accidents in June 2015.
Whether you are riding a bus in West Virginia or have traveled to New York and are riding the subway, you remain at risk of suffering harm in a public transportation accident. Certainly, public transportation accidents are not as common as motor vehicle accidents but they do occur. Partially because they are somewhat less common, many individuals are unsure of how to respond if they are harmed in a public transportation accident.
Being involved in a commercial vehicle accident such as a tractor-trailer crash can cause serious injury. While most drivers are safe, take breaks, don't drive distracted and are careful with those cars around them, some aren't as cautious as they need to be -- especially in the weather that West Virginia famous for in the winter.