Coal mine operators in West Virginia and other states have been under increased scrutiny from the Mine Safety and Health Administration in 2016. The agency handed out 161 citations to U.S. mine operators in July, a 41 percent increase from the prior month when mine operators received 114 citations. The higher citation rate is part of MSHA's impact inspection campaign that was launched in April 2010 in an effort to prevent miner's injuries and fatalities.
The federal government has received almost 600 comments in response to its request for public feedback on a proposed rule to study obstructive sleep apnea among transportation workers in West Virginia and nationwide. If passed, the rule will allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration to regulate the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea for truck drivers and railroad workers in high-risk positions.
Fall is approaching with inevitability. Next week will mark the vernal equinox, signaling the beginning of fall. Kids are back in school, football fills the weekends and Halloween candy waits to be pushed out of store aisles for Christmas decorations. And deer hunting season is just around the corner.
Highway deaths increased last year at the fastest rate seen in almost 50 years. More than 35,000 Americans died in 2015, up by 7.2 percent from the previous year. Additionally, preliminary numbers from the first six months of this year indicate that the increase is continuing, and the nation could experience this year the highest number of traffic deaths seen in a decade. In West Virginia, by the end of August 157 people had died on the roads. In 2015, a total of 270 had died. It is unclear if West Virginia will buck the national fatality trend.
A deadly truck crash last month on Interstate 64 occurred when a westbound semi-truck went across the median and struck another truck head-on. According to one news report, some drivers are concerned that there are no median barriers on that stretch of road that lies just west of Nitro, unlike most of I-64 between Charleston and Huntington.