West Virginia residents should know that large truck crash deaths continue to be a nationwide issue. Federal data shows that 35,882 people died in such crashes between the years 2009 and 2017. All but six states saw an increase in these deaths. According to the highway safety non-profit Road Safe America, many of these deaths could have been avoided through the use of vehicle technology.
Specifically, it recommends the use of automatic emergency braking, which can alert truck drivers to slow-moving or stationary objects and apply the brakes for the drivers if they fail to react in time. It also urges truck fleet owners to limit the speeds on their heavy-duty vehicles to 65 mph.
Speed limiters have been built into big rigs in the U.S. since the 1990s. In 2016, the FMCSA and NHTSA jointly issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could have mandated the use of such devices. The notice declared that the devices could save lives as well as at least a billion dollars in annual fuel costs. However, the initiative fell through.
It may not be a coincidence that most of the five states with the highest jump in large truck crash deaths from 2009 to 2017 have a 70 mph speed limit for large commercial trucks. These five states are Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Speeding, which is one common form of truck driver negligence, can thus be regarded differently in different states. This can be a complex matter for anyone who wishes to file a personal injury claim against a trucking company, which is why hiring a lawyer might be a good idea. A lawyer might bring in investigators and other third parties to bolster the case before heading to the negotiation table. In the last resort, the lawyer may opt to take the case to court.