Driving next to large trucks is relatively safe if truck drivers are trained and have experience. As long as everybody is paying attention, things should go smoothly. However, driving next to a truck does not always feel safe. The risks involved when driving next to a large truck usually stem from the truck itself, and being aware of the potential dangers can help West Virginia motorists drive safely and confidently next to a big rig.
Motorists in West Virginia and other parts of the country might be waiting to find out whether truckers will ever be tested for sleep apnea. The Department of Transportation decided to discard the proposed requirement in June. This decision will affect truck drivers who might have been tested for the affliction due to factors that influence their health such as age, BMI, and blood pressure. Instead of waiting to find out who would pay for medical tests and certifications that would allow them to continue working, truckers will not have to be tested at this point.
The commercial trucking industry may be gearing up for increased sleep apnea screening following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in April to not hear an appeal concerning this matter. Brought by a driver, the lawsuit claimed that requiring truckers to undergo sleep apnea testing because they have a body mass index of 35 or higher violates their rights under the American with Disabilities Act. Now that carriers may have less fear of being sued, the safety of motorists who share West Virginia roadways with truck drivers could be impacted by new regulatory developments moving forward.
With the continued development of highly automated commercial driver-assistance systems, issues that could potentially impact West Virginia motorists are on the table. At the annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance workshop held on April 24, an industry official acknowledged that technological advancements could lead to enhanced road safety. However, she also implied that regulations are needed to ensure that the appropriate safety standards are in place.
Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicates that there was a significant rise in the number of fatal truck accidents per 100 million miles driven as well as the number of large trucks involved in them. The agency's statistics for 2015 indicate that of the 415,000 accidents involving large trucks that were reported to police that year, many of which took place in West Virginia, 1 percent were deadly.
Cargo securement will be the focus of the 2017 International Roadcheck campaign, which is set to take place in June. Now that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has confirmed the date of the 72-hour inspection spree, drivers who travel the highways of West Virginia and other states alongside semi-trailers may want to learn more about the annual event and how it could potentially impact roadway safety.
West Virginia truck drivers may be interested to learn that a California company is working on technology that would allow trucks to be driven remotely. The technology includes a retrofit remote control kit, radars and cameras that would provide drivers who are sitting in a remote location the ability to operate a commercial vehicle.
Sitting behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer for 10 or more hours each day and eating at truck stops and highway rest areas are not the ingredients of an active and healthy lifestyle, and truck drivers in West Virginia and around the country can be more likely to be in poor health than the population as a whole. The U.S. Department of Transportation looked into the health of the nation's long-haul commercial vehicle drivers in 2014, and it discovered alarming rates of cigarette smoking, obesity and diabetes.
While driving your passenger vehicle out on West Virginia freeways, would you prefer to see all commercial trucks in your vicinity -- in fact, all such vehicles operating anywhere within the state -- controlled in their ability to speed by technology that limits them to, say, 60 or 65 miles per hour?
Whether it is on a snow covered road or on a sunny summer day, sharing the road with large commercial trucks can be nerve-wracking for some motorists. These enormous vehicles can be intimidating to travel near, especially when motorists experience truck drivers that speed, travel too closely or drive over the line. Truck driver fatigue is often the cause of many truck accidents, and many innocent motorists fall victim to negligence every year.