In West Virginia and across the country, daily life is drastically different than it was just a few short weeks ago. Most places have new regulations that require residents to spend a lot of time at home, and only go out to purchase essential goods or to seek medical attention. While a large number of businesses are closed or employees are working from home, the truck drivers responsible for restocking shelves and delivering crucial supplies are busier than ever, and some recent changes may lead to a higher likelihood of truck accidents.
West Virginia drivers are used to sharing the road with big commercial trucks. Several major interstates run through West Virginia, and tractor-trailer trucks are one of the primary ways goods are shipped across the nation. Especially at highway speeds, these massive vehicles can potentially cause a lot of damage, especially to other motorists in smaller passenger vehicles, and experts are always looking for new insights that may help reduce the risk of truck accidents.
In West Virginia, drivers face a number of dangers when they are out on the roads. One hazard that they may not be anticipating is the one caused by fracking. The byproduct of fracking is wastewater and it must be disposed of someplace. This means that there are numerous large trucks on the road that can only increase the level of danger for other drivers.
The Senate Commerce Transportation and Safety Subcommittee held a hearing in February 2020 where numerous groups raised concerns about issues in the trucking industry. One of these issues was the introduction of a bill in 2019 that would allow CDL holders under 21 to travel outside of their state. West Virginia, like all states except Hawaii, allows 18- to 20-year-old CDL holders to travel only intrastate.
Fatigue can impair cognition, reaction times and memory, which is why it is so dangerous for drivers, especially truckers. Below are some tips that truck operators in West Virginia can take into account. These methods could help address fatigue on the road or prevent it altogether.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released the findings of its last large-truck crash causation study back in 2006. Drivers in West Virginia probably understand that a lot has changed since then. Texting and other phone use behind the wheel has grown to be habitual for many drivers, and truckers are becoming distracted by new tech like navigation and fleet management systems.
Large truck accidents are all too common in West Virginia, and many of these accidents involve jackknifing, which is when the truck folds in on itself. Jackknifing is preventable; it's simply that truckers may be inexperienced and not follow certain safety guidelines. Below are a few tips that truckers should follow to avoid jackknifing.
Most West Virginia motorists realize that commercial truck accidents have the potential to be a lot more dangerous than passenger vehicle crashes. This is due in part to the size difference between an 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle. Most passenger cars are going to weigh around 4,000 pounds. An 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Understandably, truck accidents can lead to injury and death. While it's possible for the truck driver to get injured, more times than not, it's the individual in the passenger vehicle who is hurt the worst.
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.
Ball State University released a study involving more than 150,000 working adults that traced the rise of sleep deprivation in several industries. West Virginia residents should know that lack of sleep mostly plagues industries where 24-hour shift work is common. It is no surprise that commercial truckers have been frequently affected.