Possible reasons for the rise in large truck accidents in WV

There are several reasons why the number of large truck accidents, injuries and fatalities have increased in West Virginia and nationwide over the years.

Millions of tractor trailers navigate U.S. highways each year. While the American economy relies on these massive vehicles to distribute essential products across the country, they pose a significant danger to motorists on the road. West Virginia officials urge motorists to drive cautiously around tractor trailers in order to avoid being involved in a catastrophic truck accident. Large trucking accidents claimed the lives of 3,802 people nationwide in 2012, which is a substantial increase from the 3,211 people killed in 2009. West Virginia alone lost 47 people to large truck accidents in 2012, an increase from the 32 deaths recorded the year before, according to Distraction.gov.

Common causes of large truck accidents

There are many reasons why people have seen an influx of large truck accidents in West Virginia and across the country. More tractor trailers on the road and an increased amount of freight to deliver are just a few common causes, according to the American Trucking Association. There is also a shortage of qualified truck drivers to operate these big rigs. Some trucking companies are compensating for the shortage by putting poorly trained drivers behind the wheel or scheduling drivers in violation of federal Hours of Service regulations. As a result, truck drivers fail to get proper rest, fall asleep at the wheel and cause tragic accidents.

This is what happened in a high-profile truck accident in July 2014. Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and his comedian comrade was killed when their limousine was rear-ended by a large tractor trailer. According to Businessweek, the driver of the truck had fallen asleep behind the wheel and failed to stop in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike. Reports show that the driver had been awake for 24 hours before the accident occurred. Morgan and the other passengers in the vehicle filed a third-party lawsuit against the trucking company for negligence in hiring, training and scheduling the trucker.

Ways to stay safe around large trucks

When motorists understand how to drive safely around large trucks, they may be able to prevent a catastrophic accident. State Farm insurance lists the following ways West Virginia motorists can stay safe driving alongside tractor trailers.

  • Stay out of the no-zones: Large trucks have large blind spots in front, back and on each side of the truck. Drivers should never linger in these no-zones.
  • Pass quickly: Drivers should pass tractor trailers quickly and to the left of the truck.
  • Don't pull out in front of a truck: Tractor trailers need a greater distance to stop than motor vehicles. Drivers who pull out in front of trucks and slow down are at risk of getting rear-ended.
  • Report negligent drivers: People who see tractor trailers driving erratically should call and report it to the proper authorities. They may just prevent an accident.

Drivers should be extremely cautious when sharing the road with tractor trailers in bad weather conditions, such as rain, ice, wind, snow and fog.

When to call an attorney

Large trucks can cause a substantial amount of damage to smaller motor vehicles. If you suffer from a serious injury, disability or have lost a loved one due to truck driver negligence, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney in West Virginia. Truckers and trucking companies should be held responsible for their negligent behavior, and you deserve compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury