The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held its annual Brake Safety Week from Sept. 16 to 22, inspecting trucks and other commercial vehicles at random to check for compliance with brake safety rules. Truckers in West Virginia may remember it, but even if their vehicles were not checked, they will want to know the results of the spree.
Distracted driving is on the rise throughout West Virginia and across the U.S., but it's a threat that many trucking companies are ignoring. Truckers are especially prone to distracted driving not only because of increased smartphone use but also because of a "productivity culture" that forces them to stay awake longer. Texting and fatigue are frequently behind trucking accidents.
West Virginia drivers often have to share the road with large commercial vehicles. This is one of the reasons why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance periodically performs roadside inspections to identify possible safety violations. During an inspection blitz that took place in early June, more than 11,800 trucks and buses and 2,664 drivers were placed out-of-service. The primary focus of this round of vehicle assessments was hours-of-service violations, which ended up being responsible for more than 40 percent of the problems that affected drivers.
Researchers have come out with a study showing that fatigued commercial vehicle drivers are more likely to get in accidents the farther they are from rest areas, truck stops and weigh stations with rest havens. Truckers and other work vehicle drivers in West Virginia will want to take note of the findings.
Once a year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts a week-long brake inspection spree for commercial trucks. Brake Safety Week will take place this year from September 16 to 22, so truckers in West Virginia and across the rest of the U.S. will want to take note.
Officers in Iowa and other states across the country are investigating transfer trucks and their drivers under more scrutiny during road checks to determine if driver fatigue could be the cause of accidents. When officers check trucks, they look at the log that the driver keeps to ensure that proper rest breaks are taken and to ensure that the proper safety and mechanical inspections of the truck have been performed. These inspections take place at weigh stations along interstates.
Truck accidents that cause injuries and even deaths are on the rise in West Virginia and across the country, according to statistics released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While the number of trucks involved in deadly accidents increased by 3 percent from the year before, the total number of deaths saw an even larger increase, 6 percent. These figures reflect the fact that several of the most serious accidents took multiple lives.
Safety initiatives by the Road to Zero Coalition may make roads in West Virginia and throughout the country less dangerous in the decades ahead as the coalition has set a goal to end all traffic fatalities by 2050. The CEO of the National Safety Council says that although autonomous cars are likely still some way off, safety technology can still play a significant part in reducing fatal traffic accidents. The coalition has identified other focuses as well to bring down the numbers of deadly motor vehicle crashes.
West Virginia truck drivers often deal with fatigue while operating their vehicles. It is not uncommon for a commercial trucker to drive 70 hours or more each week. This is partially why the turnover rate can exceed 90 percent. In addition to high turnover rates, drowsy driving is thought to cause at least 100,000 accidents per year involving commercial vehicles.