Are deadly truck accidents on the rise?
Many drivers might see a big rig on a West Virginia highway without thinking much about the consequences of a collision. What would happen if the trucker was texting or otherwise distracted? What would happen if the truck company hired a driver who had a history of accidents or traffic violations?
Any of these factors could have deadly consequences. If you think a deadly truck accident is a rare occurrence, think again. Fatal accidents involving large trucks have been on the rise over the last ten years, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. In fact, the number of deadly crashes has jumped by 42 percent from 2009-2017, according to the data. Earlier this year, a truck driver was sentenced to prison in connection with the deaths of a family of four in a West Virginia accident. Authorities said the truck crossed a median and slammed into a car carrying the family.
Increase in fatal accidents despite stricter oversight
The spike in the number of fatal truck accidents comes at a time when state and federal agencies have rolled out a system to track mechanical and safety violations. Agencies that oversee roadside inspections of trucks have been able to crack down on truck companies and drivers who ignore safety procedures. They use a sophisticated system to analyze data and compare truck company inspection records with their peers, according to The Denver Post.
So what is causing the number of fatal crashes to go up? The Post reports that driver error continues to be a primary factor in accidents. The truck driver may be at fault, but in some cases, it’s drivers of surrounding vehicles who might be distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How to avoid truck accidents
In an accident involving a truck, drivers and passengers in cars are more prone to serious injury or death. To reduce the risk of a crash with a truck, follow these tips:
- Keep plenty of space between you and the truck. If the truck has a blowout or suddenly has to brake, you may avoid a collision if you are far enough away from the big rig.
- Don’t get caught in a blind spot: If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Stay at least 30 feet behind the truck.
- Be careful when passing a truck: Use your signals. Don’t pass a truck going downhill or uphill, since the speed of the 18-wheeler can be hard to judge.
What to do if involved in truck accident
Unfortunately, tragic accidents happen and can involve even the most cautious drivers. If your loved one died or you were seriously injured in an accident, you will need an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney on your side. You’ll need someone fighting for your rights when you’re up against the trucking company and its insurer. Contact us today at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLCC for a free consultation.