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W. Va. balances importance of coal trucks against safety

To say that coal mining is an important industry to the state of West Virginia would be making a vast understatement. Since the state's inception, coal mining has been the backbone of West Virginia. Even today, coal mining is an essential economic engine for the state and its residents. The abundance of coal mining in West Virginia spurs the need to transport that coal throughout the state and to other parts of the country.

The mines send out much of that coal on the railroads, but that isn't a realistic way of transporting all of the coal. Therefore, in many situations, the mines rely on large trucks to carry some of their product to its destination.

The West Virginia Legislature has recognized that the daily travel of these large coal trucks on the state's roads and highways can negatively impact local residents, the roads themselves and other people who share the roads with the trucks. The lawmakers also noted the need for new safety protections to address special training for coal truck drivers. Likewise, they want to ensure that authorities properly enforce weight limits for coal trucks, as well as other safety regulations.

As a result of safety concerns about coal trucks, the state legislature has a special program that has authority overall coal hauling trucks in the state.

Coal trucks are a vital component of West Virginia's economy, but they can't come at the expense of lives and serious injuries from collisions and other kinds of truck accidents. State lawmakers have endorsed this point of view through their legislative actions on the matter. Truck companies and their drivers must also embrace the need for safe operation of coal trucks.

Source: West Virginia Code,"ARTICLE 17A. REGULATION OF THE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION OF COAL,"Accessed on May 8, 2015

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