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Tragic truck accident leaves 10 dead

In West Virginia, and all throughout the country, trucks are a common method of transporting large quantities of goods. Because of the size and weight of many trucks, drivers need special training and licensing before they can get behind the wheel of a big rig. In addition, various federal regulations are aimed at making trucking as safe as possible.

Despite these precautions and others, truck accidents are still all too common. People in the Charleston area may have heard about a recent truck accident that happened in California. While accidents that occur all the way across the country might not ordinarily make the news in West Virginia, this particular accident was especially horrific.

The accident occurred when a FedEx truck collided with a bus full of high school students, killing a total of 10 people including both drivers. Five of the deceased victims were students and the other three were adult chaperones.

According to a representative from the National Transportation Safety Board, the driver of the FedEx truck did not apply the brakes of his truck before smashing into the bus. Accordingly, the NTSB could not rule out the possibility that the truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Although federal law limits the number of consecutive hours that a trucker can drive, this does not eliminate the problem of truck driver fatigue. Drivers often feel the pressure to move their cargo long distances in a short amount of time. This can result in drivers pushing themselves and their equipment too far. Even if the driver does not fall asleep, they may become distracted or disoriented.

Every driver and truck company has a responsibility to make sure that they operate their trucks in the safest possible manner. An inattentive truck driver can cause terrible accidents involving many victims. Likewise, defective equipment can also can major accidents.

This accident is a sad reminder of the dangers that trucks can pose to others on the road. Hopefully investigators will use this accident to find ways of making trucking a safer method of transportation.

Source: UPI, "Investigators: No sign truck driver tried to brake before deadly California crash," Frances Burns, April 14, 2014

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