Collisions can range from mild and inconveniencing to life endangering. Though many factors play into how severe a car accident is, it is better not to tempt fate. Even moderate collisions can cause damage like concussions and even broken or fractured bones. In some locations, car accidents are more common than others. Though it might not be inherently clear why this is the case, we can look at statistics to examine why some states, like West Virginia, are some of the most dangerous to drive in.
West Virginia’s Car Accident Statistics
In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding car accidents in West Virginia, driver deaths occurred in 73% of all collisions. This figure represents the largest proportion of car-accident related deaths compared to all other subgroups. Though the incidence of car accidents has decreased by about 37 fatalities each year from 2007-2010, West Virginia remains one of the most dangerous locations to drive in. Though fatalities have decreased, this does not mean drivers and passengers sustained zero damage.
Recently, the percentage of fatalities caused by a lack of safety practices have been alarming. 43% of fatalities in West Virginia are associated with drivers not wearing a seat belt. Moreover, the NHTSA notes that speed-related deaths increased throughout the span of five years, totaling in an 82% increase in these fatalities at the end of the study. Though West Virginia has decreased in total fatalities, certain dangerous behaviors still contribute to car-accident related deaths.
Factors That Contribute to Car Accidents
Car accidents have a multitude of causes, though some factors are more likely to contribute to collisions than others.
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving occurs when a driver takes part in any other activity while driving. This can be texting, eating, watching a podcast on their phone, etc. Even driving while tired can be a form of distracted driving.
- Seat belts – Though not wearing a seat belt doesn’t cause car accidents in itself, this lack of safety does contribute to collision fatality. Not wearing a seat belt means drivers and passengers are at risk for ejection during a collision. Severe head injuries, broken bones, and being tossed from the car via the windshield result from not wearing a seat belt.
- Speeding – Speeding is a common cause of car accidents. Driving too fast prevents a driver from having an adequate reaction-time. Moreover, high-speed impacts are much more dangerous than collisions that happen at lower speeds.
- Intoxication – Inebriation most commonly involves alcohol but can include any substance that impairs the driver. Impaired driving is extremely dangerous because it prevents drivers from making safe judgment calls on the road.
- Traffic Violations – Traffic violations can be caused in part by several of the aforementioned factors. Traffic violations are dangerous because they remove the driver’s predictability. Intersection collisions are one example of this.
West Virginia’s Dangerous Roads
West Virginia possesses some of the most dangerous roads in the country. According to the NHTSA, in 2017, some form of negligence caused at least 70% of all car accidents. This is alarming because it means West Virginian residents are at a high risk for being on the road with dangerous drivers. When driving in this state, drivers must remain alert and exercise proper safety precautions. The state continues to regulate driving conditions to prevent further accidents.
West Virginia is notorious for negligence-related accidents on both rural roads and town roads. Though the state is making progress in reducing the number of fatalities associated with car accidents, certain dangerous driving behavior, like speeding, are still increasing. With such dangerous drivers on the road, it remains crucial to take responsibility for your own safe driving habits.