The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has released the results of its 2018 International Roadcheck, which took place from June 5 to 7, so truckers and fleet owners in West Virginia may be interested to know what the most frequent violations were. The focus of this year's inspection spree was on hours-of-service compliance, which is natural considering the ELD mandate that went into effect in December 2017.
The risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident is one all West Virginia drivers accept each time they get behind the wheel. Many accidents between smaller cars are relatively minor. However, when one of the vehicles involved is an 18-wheeler, the chances for severe injury rise considerably. This was the case when a semi-truck was involved in a multi-car wreck in New Mexico on Sept. 1.
Most residents of West Virginia know the dangers of distracted driving. Accidents caused by distracted drivers are among the most serious, both in terms of injuries and vehicle damage, because the negligent driver is not attentive enough to slow down or avert the crash. These crashes cost trucking companies money in settlements and delays, too. Distracted driving is more prevalent than some think: for example, the data analytics firm Zendrive estimates that 69 million Americans use their phones every day behind the wheel.
Having recently wrapped up its International Roadcheck, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has scheduled its next inspection spree for September 16 to 22. This will be Brake Safety Week, an annual event meant to enforce brake safety guidelines among commercial truck drivers. Drivers in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S. should take note because the inspections are conducted at random.
With so many commercial trucks traveling across West Virginia and the rest of the U.S., drivers may be wary sharing the road with them. Truck accidents may end in death, usually for the occupants of the passenger vehicle; in fact, occupants of the smaller vehicle make up 97 percent of all fatal crashes between trucks and passenger vehicles. When the occupants survive, they often have to cope with long-term physical and emotional trauma.
The presence of commercial trucks on the roads of West Virginia, as in other states, can make a lot of drivers anxious. Truck accidents usually result in serious injuries or death for those in passenger vehicles. Though safety measures and technology have kept the crash rates down, there has still been a noticeable increase. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a new report showing a 3 percent rise in fatal truck crashes in 2016.
The commercial trucking industry employs more than 7 million people, with nearly half of those employees driving the trucks. With truckers clocking in as much as 70 hours in an eight-day workweek, it's no surprise that driver fatigue is a hazard in the industry. Every year in West Virginia and across the U.S., an estimated 100,000 crashes occur because of truck driver fatigue.
Many people are killed in large truck crashes in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S. each year. The National Safety Council is working together with the Road to Zero Coalition in an effort to reduce the number of fatalities in truck accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents to zero by 2050.
Although many truck drivers in West Virginia work hard to operate their vehicles properly, the trucking industry overall appears to have a safety problem. Over the past decade, there has been a 20 percent increase in truck accidents. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study investigated the reasons behind these wrecks and determined that truck driver errors are the cause of many accidents.
Semi-trucks are a common sight on the highways of West Virginia, and their bulk makes them dangerous in crashes. Over the past decade, truck accidents have increased in frequency by 20 percent. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study produced by federal transportation agencies examined 120,000 fatal commercial truck accidents and concluded that drivers caused 68,000 of the wrecks.