Sharing the road safely with coal trucks in West Virginia

Coal is a way of life for West Virginians. It continues to be a reliable source of fuel for us, it boosts our state's economy and it provides employment opportunities for a great deal of our residents. In fact, West Virginia is the second largest coal producing state in the country, says the West Virginia Coal Association. Coal is a proud tradition for our state that goes back generations.

It's not uncommon to see coal trucks on any of our roadways at any time. Most people are able to share the road safely with truckers and hardly give it a second thought. Unfortunately, for thousands of others across the U.S. and in West Virginia, trucking accidents cause untold injuries and even deaths.

Chelyan Crash Highlights Dangers of Coal Trucks

Coal trucks are no exception. WCHS News reported on a crash in early December, when a coal truck struck a smaller vehicle in Chelyan. Two people were hospitalized, while the car itself was mangled beyond recognition. The victims were fortunate not to have been killed.

Most truck drivers are conscientious, professional drivers and pride themselves on practicing high safety standards. However, just like any other driver, unexpected situations can happen that cause a trucker to get into an accident. Some truck drivers also drive negligently or even while under the influence. There are several factors that commonly cause truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. These include:

  • Driver fatigue or distraction.
  • Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions.
  • Cargo shift or truck systems failure.
  • Poor road or weather conditions.
  • Sudden physical impairment, such as a heart attack or stroke.
  • Drunk driving.

Truckers understand the dangers that are unique to their large, fast vehicles, says Road Safe America. For example, a professional truck driver knows that his or her big rig will require extra space and time to slow down. A truck driver also realizes that trucks have large blind spots that can be especially dangerous to smaller cars. Despite the specialized training that truckers go through, accidents can still happen.

Contacting An Attorney

In many cases, a crash can occur that was the truck driver's fault. Trucking accidents often cause severe injuries that can result in months or even years of recovery and costly long-term medical care. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of a coal truck driver, you may be eligible for the compensation of your medical expenses. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.