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.
West Virginia residents who drive trucks or other work vehicles may be interested in the data gathered by Verizon Connect, a fleet management systems provider, as to what states are safest for people in their industry. Verizon Connect analyzed the behavior of drivers from more than 6,200 of its fleet customers, all of them small or mid-size businesses, between October 2015 and September 2017.
Some West Virginia residents may have heard of a bill that has been introduced in Congress that would allow people as young as 18 to train as commercial drivers. Although it is known as the DRIVE-Safe Act, some people have reservations about just how safe it will be.
From September 16 to 22, commercial truck drivers in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S. will undergo random brake inspections. This is part of Brake Safety Week, an annual inspection spree held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. While last year the spree was pared down to a single day, the CVSA has returned to the weeklong format as a way to better enforce brake safety guidelines.
During the first week of June, law enforcement officers in West Virginia and across the U.S. participated in the annual International Roadcheck program. The three-day initiative, which is overseen by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, subjects commercial vehicles to safety inspections. This year's focus was on truck driver fatigue.