Coal trucks are a common danger on West Virginia roads

Most West Virginia residents see coal trucks on the roadways in Cabell County and the surrounding areas, since we are a major coal-producing state. In fact, says the West Virginia Coal Association, we are the largest producers of coal in the Appalachian Coal Region, and the second-largest coal-producing state in the country. This impressive fact means that coal keeps a great deal of our population employed, from mining to administrative duties to truck driving. Unfortunately, coal producing also comes with its own unique set of dangers, some of which can cause accidents for the general public.

Coal Trucking Accidents Aren't Uncommon On West Virginia Highways

Everyone takes a risk when they get behind the wheel, especially during the winter when roadways can be slippery and more dangerous than usual. The danger is increased when everyday traffic includes large, fast commercial trucks. The trucking industry is a necessary part of our economy, transporting goods from state to state. Most people are fortunate enough not to be involved in a truck crash, but commercial truck accidents happen regularly across the U.S. Just like with accidents involving smaller passenger vehicles, a number of factors can contribute toward a dangerous tractor-trailer crash, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. These most often include driver fatigue, road conditions, vehicle repair and speeding. Truck driver distraction or even intoxication can also contribute to accidents.

In early December, two people were hospitalized after a coal truck hit a passenger vehicle in Chelyan, West Virginia, reported WCHS News. Authorities were still investigating what caused the accident that mangled the car almost beyond recognition but, fortunately, didn't result in any fatalities. Because of the size and speed of large commercial trucks, accidents often cause serious injuries and even death.

Every driver, from those with the smallest passenger car to the largest big rig, can make the roads safer by following a few basic safety rules, according to Road Safe America. These include:

  • Being extra alert when driving near a large truck.
  • Avoiding blind spots - one third of all accidents involving big trucks and passenger cars happened when the truck driver couldn't see the smaller car in the blind spot.
  • Passing safely and courteously - this pertains to every vehicle on the road.
  • Respecting other drivers, following at a safe distance and paying attention to weather and road hazards.

It can help to remember that large trucks need extra time to slow down and stop than smaller cars.

Contacting An Attorney

Commercial truck accidents, which involve any of the coal trucks common to our area, can be devastating to injured victims. Many accidents could have been prevented, whether the truck driver was distracted by food or a cellphone, or had been drinking and driving. If you or a family member has been injured in a trucking accident that wasn't your fault, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.