West Virginia’s economy makes it a unique place for commercial trucking. Trucks that may not be present on roads in many parts of the country, such as coal trucks or logging trucks, can be commonplace in the Mountain State.
Along with these West Virginia industries come the risks inherent in these particular types of trucks. Accidents involving coal trucks and logging trucks can cause injuries that are much more catastrophic than those from a typical passenger car accident.
Virginia Tech reports that one study shows 576 fatal accidents involving log trucks between 2007 and 2015. Data from another study reveals that between 2007 and 2016, log trucks were involved in 11,014 injury or property damage accidents. Log truck accidents have surpassed other types of large truck accidents nearly every year between 2011 and 2015. One reason may be that the log trucks in these accidents were, on average, four to five years older than the other types of semitrucks involved in collisions. They were much more likely to be in a rollover accident, as well.
One of the most common issues with coal trucks is that they may be improperly loaded when they hit the road. Loads of coal can shift during transport and this can cause the truck to be unstable. Sometimes trucks are overloaded to try to optimize delivery and save money, but this ultimately makes for a serious hazard.
West Virginia road hazards
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the roads of West Virginia also contribute to the high number of accidents. The mountainous terrain of the state’s winding rural roads creates visibility issues for every motorist, and experts say the narrowness and lack of adequate maintenance of the roads may also be a danger factor. During the winter, inclement weather and other severe conditions contribute to the hazards that log and coal trucks are particularly susceptible to.