Dangerous Trucking Practices in West Virginia
Safety Violations and Personal Injury Law
The Law Firm You Can Trust
Commercial truck drivers and the companies they work for have an immense responsibility to ensure that they are following all local, state, and federal safety guidelines. As the operators of the largest vehicles on the roadway, truckers hold the lives of everyone around them in their hands. When a large commercial truck impacts a passenger car, the result is often catastrophic or fatal. Negligence and reckless behavior can cause these accidents the resultant severe injuries and death for innocent travelers throughout West Virginia. If you or a loved one have been victimized by a dangerous trucking practice, contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law immediately to learn what options are available to you. We hold all liable parties fully accountable for engaging in a wide range of unsafe practices.
Overweight & Oversize Truck Loads
Overweight, oversize, and wide loads are extremely dangerous. You may have seen these types of loads in the past. Maybe a modular home or a large piece of equipment was being transported by truck to a new destination. You may have noticed that the load was clearly marked, moving slowly, and escorted by numerous support vehicles. It is not illegal to transport large and heavy loads, but there are federal limitations that apply. For example, the maximum total weight of a truck (including its load) allowed on U.S. roads is limited to 80,000 lbs. Many additional regulations apply to both weight and size capacity. Truck drivers are required to submit to inspections at weight stations located throughout the nation to help ensure compliance. The dangers of loads that exceed size and weight limitations include:
- Difficult & Slowed Stop Time
- Risk of Tire Failure
- Inability to Stop the Truck
- Rollover of the Tractor and Trailer
- Total Loss of Vehicle Control
With the average weight of a rig coming in at just over 73,000 lbs. and the average passenger car weighing approximately 4,000 lbs., it is easy to understand how devastating a tractor-trailer rollover or jackknife situation can be.
Unsecured Truck Loads
If you have watched Final Destination’s log scene, you probably have a good understanding of the devastation that can be caused by an unsecured load. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are actually rather common. According to recent research by the American Automobile Association (AAA), unsecured loads claimed the lives of more than 500 people and maimed ~39,000 over a recent three-year period. Over 200,000 vehicle accidents involved loose debris, with 2/3 of these directly caused by unsecured commercial truck loads and negligent maintenance (such as tires and vehicle parts flying loose during travel). If a load shifts –or moves at all – when the truck navigates a turn or hits a bump, it is likely unsecured. Stay far away from it. Loading errors and improper use of tie-downs are common causes, as well. The dangers of unsecured loads include property damage, serious injury, and death caused by factors including:
- Loose Debris Impacts
- Swerve Accidents to Avoid Fallen Debris
- Load Shifting and Rollover or Jackknifing
- Massive Multi-Vehicle Pileups (frightened drivers tend to swerve or brake without warning to avoid debris)
Undertrained Truck Drivers
The skill level required to operate a tractor-trailer is quite high. As the nationwide shortage of truck drivers continues, we are continuing to seeing more undertrained, and even untrained, drivers operating commercial trucks. Due to their lack of training and mentored experience behind the wheel, undertrained drivers contribute to a wide variety of accidents, including:
- Driving Too Fast for Conditions
- Under-Ride Accidents (trapping smaller vehicles beneath the trailer)
- Jackknife Accidents (mostly due to slamming the brakes)
- Rollovers (mainly due to maneuvering errors, poor accounting for wind and weather conditions, or top-heavy loading)
- Rear-End Impacts
View Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Online
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations were developed to help keep the public safe on our nation’s roadways. Regulations include mandatory rest periods, pre-trip inspections, weight limits, and logging requirements designed to maximize safety. You may now view the entire document online at e-CFR for your convenience:
Report safety issues to FMCSA by calling: Call 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238) from 8am‒8pm, Mon‒Fri EST or online.
Injured? Call Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law in Morgantown. We help injured victims throughout West Virginia access the maximum compensation allowed by law for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other compensable damages. Call now to schedule your free initial consultation: 304-292-4381. Your case review is complimentary – and you pay nothing until you win your case.