Although not the leading cause of motor vehicle collisions on West Virginia roads and highways, collisions caused by commercial trucks can be some of the most deadly. Commercial motor vehicles are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Drivers and trucks alike must adhere to federal standards for the purpose of ensuring safety and ease of transit. Many accidents are caused by a failure on behalf of the trucking company or the driver to adhere to these nationally accepted standards. Listed below are some of the most common causes of Trucking Accidents in West Virginia and in the United States as a whole:
Truck Driver Fatigue
Although the FMCSA requires that truck drivers do not drive over a certain hour limit (regulated by the Hours of Operation), many truck drivers skip their mandated resting breaks or fraudulently input information into their driving log in order to make it to their destination on time. Although a timely delivery is important, it often comes at the risk of an overly-fatigued driver and consequently, severe motor vehicle collisions.
Mechanical failure is absolutely avoidable. Some of the most common types are tire blowout and brakes giving out. Many of the mechanical functions of a truck are the responsibility of the driver. The driver must promptly report any malfunction so that the damage can be repaired before an accident occurs. Unfortunately, drivers can travel hundreds and even thousands of miles before addressing a mechanical issue.
Although this is a rampant problem for all drivers of motor vehicles, it can prove even more deadly when practiced by a truck driver. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. Compare that with the average size of a passenger vehicle which is only 3,000-4,000 pounds. Talking on the phone, texting, eating and other practices, although not always illegal, can prove to be negligent if they cause a vehicle collision.
Those that wish to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must obtain a license issued by the FMCSA. Depending on the vehicle a driver wishes to operate, they will have to successfully complete a skills test or written test. License fraud has actually been uncovered in more than ten states and investigations are pending in many others.
Even those drivers who successfully procured their CMV license can prove to be incompetent when it comes to operating a large truck. Drivers that are hired with a poor driving record or drivers that have not completed the necessary on-the-job training may not be qualified for safe operation of their commercial motor vehicle.
Weather Related Accidents
Although weather related accidents seem to be strictly caused by Mother Nature, truck drivers may also be to blame. Rain, snow and ice can make highways slippery which presents an increased likelihood of an accident, however, a driver that has failed to report balding tires or drivers that were found to be speeding in unsafe weather conditions may be partially to blame for accidents of this nature.
If you were injured in an accident caused by any of the previous factors or any other factor, do not hesitate to contact a West Virginia personal injury attorney from our law firm. At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we have years of experience of fighting for the rights of accident victims so that they can receive maximum financial compensation. When your recovery is on the line, you can’t afford to go with a lesser firm.