Truck drivers who operate vehicles in West Virginia need to make safety their top priority. Otherwise, they could lose their jobs and put other lives in jeopardy. However, drivers of passenger vehicles can take steps to help keep the roads safe as well. For instance, a survey of commercial truck drivers conducted by Teletrac Navman found that failing to signal a lane change was among the top concerns drivers had.
Speed continues to kill motorists in West Virginia and across the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed played a role in 26% of all fatal traffic accidents nationwide in 2017, claiming the lives of 9,717 people. In addition, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance says that speed has been a contributing factor in almost one-third of all the deadly crashes that have occurred over the last 20 years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that, while motor vehicle crash fatalities went down 2% between 2016 and 2017, truck crash fatalities went up 9% from 4,369 to 4,761. This has marked 2017 as the year with the most truck crash deaths since 1988. Truckers and passenger vehicle drivers in West Virginia may want to know more.
Out of the more than 34,000 deadly car crashes that occur every year in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S., about 4,000 involve at least one large truck or bus. The number of truck crashes has risen in Florida especially, going from 23,515 in 2014 to 32,513 in 2018. A 2017 report from the Florida Department of Transportation found that speeding was the number one driver-related factor in these crashes.
West Virginia motorists may be particularly worried about the dangers of truck accidents, because crashes involving semi-trucks and passenger vehicles are far more harmful to the occupants of smaller vehicles. The size and mass of large trucks mean that anyone in a crash with them is at a significant risk for a serious injury. In addition, the nature of the trucking industry can also contribute to the likelihood of an accident. After a long day on the road, even experienced truck drivers can become fatigued behind the wheel.
Each year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds a three-day inspection spree called the International Roadcheck. During this event, CMV drivers in West Virginia and across the US are liable to be stopped at random for inspections. If they pass, they receive a CVSA decal as an indicator. If not, they are issued out-of-service orders.
It's safe to assume that anyone in West Virginia who shares the road with large trucks has a vested interest in doing everything possible to improve safety. This is why two groups, the Truck Safety Coalition and Road Safe America, are asking lawmakers in Congress to require certain trucks to be outfitted with specially designed safety devices.
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.