Blame it on the mountainous terrain, or even the winding rural roads, but the fact is, West Virginia’s number of fatalities is not only higher than the national average according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it is also higher than the surrounding states, other than Kentucky. With the national average set at 11.6 fatalities per 100,000, West Virginia comes in a 14.7 per 100,000.
What does this say about West Virginia drivers? It depends on who you ask.
In an article by the Charleston Gazette, several causes of the higher fatality rate can be found. The causes are not just limited to the liable driver, but also to a number of other factors that may or may not be controllable, including the mountainous and winding roadways and the narrow rural roads that are in many counties across the state. One should also look at the way that roads are treated during inclement weather and repaired during warmer months. With most roadways under the jurisdiction of the state, which is vastly different in neighboring states, the responsibility lies with a state government that has limited resources.
What Causes Fatal Accident on WV Roadways?
The article goes on to further quote the NHTSA stats that show one in every four fatal car accidents involve a drunk driver with a BAC of higher than 0.08.
Monongalia County Sheriff Perry Palmer goes one step further when he points out the other factors which include high rates of speed and the distractions to the driver, which include cell phones.
With the type of terrain West Virginia faces and the infrastructure itself, how do we decrease the number of fatalities and increase the safety of every driver or passenger on the road? Would improving the roads themselves cut down on the amount of fatalities? Stricter punishments for speeding or distracted driving? How about increasing penalties for drunken or drugged driving? Many of these ideas are currently being reviewed by state officials, but that does not change the current status of our roadways.
Can we Prevent Deaths Resulting from Car Accidents?
When driving in West Virginia it is important to understand the types of roads you are on and to pay close attention to other drivers and be prepared to react. It is very difficult when it comes to fatal accidents to review the situation and identify what could have been done differently, especially when it is your loved one that passed. However, reviewing the information and data can lead to improvement and that could lead to the reduction of these horrible statistics. There have been plenty of situations like the 24 year old West Virginia University Student who when driving back to school veered off the road and crashed, resulting in serious injuries that lead to his death at Ruby Memorial.
What Happens After the Fatal Accident?
The aftermath of an accident leading to a death is devastating for the family and can lead to a huge amount of red tape that will need to be sorted through. When a loved one dies in an accident, you not only have to deal with law enforcement, but also with insurance companies, medical bills and even funeral expenses. It is important to not process through that alone, get the assistance and information you need to make the best decisions for you and your grieving family.