West Virginia – Fatal Car Crash Statistics
In 2015, 268 of the nation’s 35,092 fatal car crashes took place in the state of West Virginia. This number is the equivalent to 14.5 deaths per 100,000 people. Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner indicated that fatalities on the road were down 18% from the previous year. The decrease in fatalities can be attributed to driver awareness to new legislation and improved standards of what is considered acceptable while driving on roads.
The legislation, put in place in 2013, includes seat belt requirements, a ban on hand held cellular phone usage while driving, and of course, no texting is allowed while driving. These new restrictions are added to the existing “Click It or Ticket” laws and “Turn it Off. Put it Down. Just Drive,” to prevent distracted driving.
Causes of West Virginia Vehicle Fatalities
Although West Virginia had a small number of vehicle fatalities (268) in 2015, 147 drivers died as a result of alcohol related fatalities, and 30 of those drivers had blood alcohol contents (BAC) greater than 0.08, which is the legal limit for driving while intoxicated. The greatest number of crashes (71%) occurred in rural areas of the state, and the other 29% took place in urban areas. West Virginia’s single vehicle fatality rate was 59% of all fatalities for the state for 2015.
West Virginia’s fatal crash rate continued to drop throughout 2015 according to the Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. The state’s fatal traffic incidents may have declined, but the totals for the nation rose 7.2%. There hasn’t been an increase of this magnitude since 1966. This prompted a nationwide search to study what specifically caused the accident rate to increase. People were driving more due to reduced fuel costs and periods of economic job growth which resulted in more cars being on the roads and therefore, more accidents.
This state, on the whole, experienced significantly fewer vehicle fatalities than other states. Although any loss of life is too great, implementation of various legislative acts appears to have made an impact on vehicle fatalities. When mandates are put in place targeting specific actions that lead to fatal vehicle accidents, it forced drivers to exercise the necessary caution required to prevent accidents.
Although no legislative mandate can guarantee a state will be accident-free, the implementation of “Click It or Ticket” laws and “Turn it Off. Put it Down. Just Drive” may have caused drivers to be extremely cautious because they are being watched by law enforcement. Imposing bans on improper behavior like texting while driving and hand-held cell phone usage puts drivers on notice that they will be penalized for using their cell phones while operating their motor vehicles and could face stiff fines.