In West Virginia and throughout the country, the trucking industry is experiencing more and more accidents. This is due to the prevalence of bad driving habits like speeding, distracted operation and fatigued driving. All of these issues have been compounded with the lure of by-the-load incentives.

Another factor, experts say, is a poor effort to prevent truck accidents. This is contrasted with the early 2000s, which saw a decline in accident rates due to improved technology and more effective driver safety campaigns. However, some are working to cut down on fatigued driving and improve in-cab monitoring technology.

Dump trucks and ready-mix concrete delivery trucks have clearly been affected by the trend, as a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows. The FMCSA, looking back on 2016 (the latest year in which statistics are available), found that serious dump truck and concrete delivery truck crashes totaled 8,206 and 838 — a 9 and 9.6 percent jump, respectively, from 2015. Serious crashes are defined here as those where the truck had to be towed away.

In addition, there were 2.7 and 3.8 percent increases in dump truck and ready-mix delivery truck crashes that involved injuries. Overall, 5,483 dump truck accidents ended with injuries and 367 ended fatally, which is a slight decline from the 369 fatal accidents in 2015. Concrete delivery trucks saw a rise from 33 to 38 fatal crashes.

In the event of a semi-truck crash, the injured party will want to find out to what degree the trucker was to blame. It could have been that the trucker was drowsy, speeding or using a cell phone behind the wheel. A lawyer could evaluate the case and determine if the victim has good grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Legal counsel could even negotiate for a settlement and take the case to court if one isn’t achieved.