Tractor Trailers, Mountain State Highways Can Be a Deadly Mix

Vehicle accidents involving semi trucks and other large commercial vehicles continue to claim many lives in West Virginia.

Anyone who has been in a standard passenger vehicle while driving next to a tractor trailer or other large commercial vehicle knows how vulnerable you can feel in that situation.

The incredible weight and size difference of big rigs can make even the safest passenger car unable to protect its occupants in the event of a collision.

Just how serious of a problem do large truck collisions pose to people in West Virginia?

Statistics paint a bleak picture

In looking at records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accidents involving large commercial vehicles were responsible for more than 11 percent of West Virginia's total vehicular fatalities between 2012 and 2016.

In that five-year period, a total of 1,480 people died on West Virginia's roads. Of those, 170 lost their lives in large truck accidents.

Kanawha County experienced significantly more deaths in truck wrecks than did any of its neighboring counties in this same timeframe. Of the county's 118 total accident deaths, 15 were in large truck crashes. Raleigh County had the next-highest number of truck fatalities of Kanawha's neighbors with a total of eight deaths.

Examples recently in the news

Media reports confirm the ongoing risk that people face due to truck crashes. In April of last year, a couple and their two children were killed on Interstate 77 when a trucker crossed into their oncoming lane of traffic and hit them. The trucker survived the crash. According to U.S. News and World Report, the truck driver was recently been charged with multiple criminal offenses relating to the fatal incident.

In December of 2017, reported a trucker transporting propane lost control of his vehicle and ended up dying in the resulting crash. Anyone else who had been involved in that crash would have almost surely suffered the same fate.

Causes of truck crashes

Many things may contribute to large truck crashes. Trucker fatigue is one. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has updated rules about when truckers must take breaks and how many hours per day they may drive.

Another ongoing issue is impaired driving. The FMCSA has developed a clearinghouse and set of processes by which every driver should be tested annually for drug and alcohol use. This is meant to reduce impaired commercial drivers.

Citizens deserve safe roads and compensation when crashes occur

Drivers in West Virginia should be able to count upon safe travel while on our highways. When an accident does happen an experienced commercial vehicle lawyer can help you navigate the complex set of federal rules that apply to y our situation.