Most West Virginians exercise caution when driving, especially if they are traveling near large trucks. Statistics support the need for this caution. Over the last few years, there has been an uptick in the number of accidents involving ready-mix concrete trucks and dump trucks.
West Virginia drivers typically encounter all sorts of vehicles while on the highways and streets. In addition to being focused on their own driving, motorists must be constantly on the watch for danger coming from others. This is never more critical than when sharing the roadway with large transport trucks.
Truck driver fatigue can be a menace on West Virginia roads. Since commercial big rigs can cause catastrophic damage, various companies are working to develop technology that can minimize the risk posed by fatigue behind the wheel.
A horrific accident in West Virginia involving an out-of-control tractor-trailer killed two people and left a third critically injured on the morning of Oct. 11. The crash took place on the southbound lanes of Interstate 77 near Camp Creek State Park in Mercer County at approximately 10:41 a.m. Police have filed no charges in connection with the accident, but reports indicate that their investigation is ongoing.
West Virginia residents should know that the number of vehicle crash fatalities went down from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017: a 1.8 percent decrease. Motorcyclist, pedestrian and bicyclist deaths also decreased by 3.1, 1.7 and 8.1 percent, respectively; deaths caused by speeding and distracted driving went down as well, the former by a substantial 5.6 percent. Only one area has bucked the trend: large truck traffic fatalities.
From June 5 to 7, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held its annual International Roadcheck. Taking place across North America, the spree resulted in 67,502 commercial truck and bus drivers being stopped and inspected for vehicle- and driver-related compliance. Truck drivers in West Virginia may be interested to know what the results were.
In August 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that laid out the various revisions it plans to make to commercial truck drivers' hours-of-service regulations. The FMCSA is now asking for comments. These proposed changes should be of interest to truckers in West Virginia and throughout the U.S.
West Virginia residents may be aware that many commercial vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving. However, fatigue may also be a major factor that could result in accidents. Further, the location of rest stops could also have an impact on where fatigue-related accidents are more likely to occur.
Trucking companies in West Virginia and around the country were likely pleased when Congress passed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act. In addition to earmarking funds to improve the nation's road system, the 2015 bill required the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to revise its Compliance, Safety and Accountability program. The program, which assigns carriers safety scores based on a number of criteria, was criticized by trade groups for using incomplete data and providing the public with misleading information.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 69 percent of victims in accidents involving passenger vehicles and large trucks were in the passenger vehicle. Only 16 percent of victims of accidents involving large trucks and passenger vehicles were in the truck when the collision occurred. There are many reasons why a truck accident could occur on a West Virginia road.