Category Archives: Dangerous Roads

West Virginia is the 8th Most Dangerous State to Drive In

According to an article published by Walstreet 24/7, West Virginia has been ranked as the 8th most dangerous state to drive in:

8. West Virginia
> Average auto fatalities per 100,000: 19.8
> Auto fatalities/year: 359 (18th fewest)
> Lifetime medical costs due to 1-yr, auto accidents: $2,938,686 (18th lowest)
> Lifetime work loss costs due to 1-yr. auto accidents: $289,051,095 (16th lowest)
> Pct. commuters traveling 30 mins. or more: 33.11% (17th highest)

Of the states with the highest auto fatality rates, West Virginia was one of the few with a large percentage of commuters traveling at least 30 minutes to work each day. Between 2007 and 2009, West Virginia averaged 359 auto fatalities each year, or 19.8 per 100,000 people. According to estimates, auto fatalities in one year cost the state $289 million in lost productivity. Of the four policies highlighted by the report, the state has adopted two — mandatory helmets and booster seats — but remains one of only 18 states that does not have a primary seat belt law.

Read more: The Most Dangerous States to Drive In – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/2012/05/24/the-most-dangerous-states-to-drive-in/#ixzz1wvT9291L

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Insurance Company Issues Report on Deer-Vehicle Collisions in West Virginia

Erie Insurance issued a report a few days ago on the PRNewswire detailing the rise in deer-vehicle collisions in West Virginia. Generally, across the country deer-vehicle collisions cause more than 200 deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, and up to 1.1 billion in property damages. But across the country, deer insurance claims have declined over the past 10 years. But the report notes that deer insurance claims frequency is highest in West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

In West Virginia, deer collisions have been on the rise for the last two years. Erie notes that in 2007, claims increased 11 percent. Apparently, in Wirt, Pleasants, Calhoun and Pocahontas Counties, drivers are three times more likely to hit a deer than in other parts of West Virginia.

Erie offers 10 tips for “bucking” the deer-vehicle collision trend:

1. Stay alert, awake and sober.
2. Always wear your seatbelt and drive at a safe, sensible speed for
conditions.
3. Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors
to deter deer.
4. Deliberately watch for deer — including the reflection of deer eyes and
deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road — particularly when driving
late at night or early in the morning.
5. Use high-beam headlights at night when there is no opposing traffic.
6. If you encounter a deer, assume nothing, slow down and blow your horn to
urge the deer to leave the road.
7. If you see a deer in or near your path, brake firmly but stay in your
lane.
8. Never swerve your vehicle to avoid striking a deer — if a collision is
imminent, hit it while maintaining full control of your vehicle.
9. If you do strike a deer, and are uncertain whether or not the deer is
dead, keep your distance.
10. If the deer is blocking the roadway, contact the Game Commission or a
local law enforcement agency.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney

West Virginia Roads are Deadly for Young Drivers

There was a report just released from the federal government indicating that younger drivers are more likely to die on West Virginia roads than anywhere else in the country. According to an article on WSAZ.com, statistics show that West Virginia’s death rate among younger drivers was 70 percent higher than the national average. Thirty six West Virginians between the ages of 16 and 20 died in crashes in 2006.

The article notes that “experts say traffic fatalities are twice as high in rural areas where drivers are more likely to speed and less likely to wear seat belts.”

I think those are two factors involved, but not the only ones. A reporter called me today and asked me what I thought were the main reasons for this problem. I responded that I think that younger drivers are reckless drivers no matter what state you are in. But when you put them on windy, mountain roads with no enforcement of the speed limit, you are asking for disaster. And that is my theory at least, about why the young fatalities are so high on West Virginia roads. But certainly the advent of new cell phone technologies and their 24/7 usage by younger persons is playing a part as well.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney

New Study Shows Importance of Seat Belts, Nationally and for West Virginia

The Associated Press published an article yesterday, a copy of which appeared in the hard copy of the Register-Herald:

More than two-thirds of young drivers and passengers killed in nighttime car crashes aren’t wearing seat belts — deadly proof of what can happen when young people don’t heed parents’ pleas and authorities’ threats to “click it.”

Though seat-belt use actually is rising slightly nationwide, fatality figures published Monday offered a somber contrast as law enforcement launched its annual pre-Memorial Day drive to persuade Americans to buckle up.

Total belt use rose to 82 percent last year — from 81 percent in 2006 — the government said. Twelve states had rates of 90 percent or better, led by Hawaii and Washington. Only three were below 70 percent: Arkansas, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. West Virginia was ranked between 85% and 90%, which is well above the national average of 82%. But the study was hardly encouraging.

Sixty-eight percent of drivers and passengers between the ages of 16 and 20 who were killed in car crashes at night in 2006 were unbuckled, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During daytime, 57 percent of the young motorists and passengers who were killed were not wearing seat belts.

The problem isn’t just with teens. The percentage of unbuckled drivers and passengers who died at night is well up in the 60s through the age of 44. It declines to 52 percent for people 55-64 and 41 percent for those older than that.

The problem still remains however, that when you combine carloads of teens, with inexperience and poor judgment, the result is often disastrous, especially in West Virginia with our winding roads. I am reminded of a car wreck that took place on the border of Monroe County and Greenbrier County not too long ago, where a car load of teenagers were killed as the result of excessive speed, poor vehicle maintenance, and unbuckled seat belts.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.

School Bus and Car Collide in Greenbrier County

From the Register-Herald:

Yet another accident involving a school bus loaded with children, this time in Greenbrier County, WV.

A Greenbrier County school bus with seven children aboard collided with another vehicle Wednesday in what school officials called a “minor accident.”

Superintendent John Curry said the accident happened in the Ft. Spring area about 4:30 p.m.

“We had a bus going around a blind curve and the bus and the car side swiped,” Curry said. “Nobody was hurt and the seven middle school children aboard were all transported home by their parents, who lived close by.”

No citations were issued by police.

Its odd that the police did not issue any citations. One of the drivers had to have been left of center in order for them to have collided – assuming this was a two-lane road. Regardless, both are probably at fault. If you are going around a blind curve, you have to slow down and approach with caution, keeping as far as you can on your side of the road – especially if you are driving a school bus. Fortunately none of the children were injured. It amazes me how children come out of the school bus crashes with no injuries, despite the fact that these buses don’t even have seat belts (to my knowledge).

Read the full article here.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.

NHTSA Study: West Virginia Higher Than National Average For Alcohol Related Fatal Car Accidents

According to the NHTSA Study released in February of 2008, West Virginia is one of the highest states for fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT) when it comes to fatalities in alcohol related accidents. The study covered 2005 and 2006. The rate in West Virginia was much higher than all of its surrounding states.

In 2005, there were a total of 374 fatalities overall in West Virginia car accidents. That yields a total of 1.82 fatalities per 100 million VMT. 110 of those fatalities in 2005 were alcohol related. That yields a percentage of .54.

In 2006, it got worse. There were a total of 410 fatalities, yielding a total percentage of 1.96 per 100 million VMT. 129 of those fatalities were alcohol related, thus yielding a percentage of .62 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Just to compare, in 2006, Virginia’s was .37, Ohio’s was .34, Maryland’s was .34, Pennsylvania’s was .45 and Kentucky’s was .46.

Complete .pdf file containing the study:

810920.pdf

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.

Higher Car Accident Rates for Teen Drivers – Especially with Cell Phones

The National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) report indicated that 16 year-old drivers have a vehicle crash rate that is fully five times higher than the rate for 18 year-olds and nearly 10 times higher than the rate for drivers between 30 and 59 years-old.

n addition, Ford Motor Company research revealed that teenage drivers are four times more distracted when using a cell phone while driving, compared to adult drivers. The National Transportation Safety Board has a suggested “prohibition of the use of wireless communication device by young novice drivers” on it list of “Most Wanted” safety recommendations.

In a 2007 survey of 16- and 17-year-old drivers by Seventeen magazine and the American Automobile Association, 61% of the teens admitted to driving habits such as sending text messages while driving (46%) and talking on a cell phone while driving (51%).

I believe that the newer surveys that will be coming out will show that an enormous percentage of accidents are caused by teen drivers on cell phones, whether talking on them or texting on them. It would be a good idea to keep an eye out for these drivers, especially on West Virginia roads where they like to push their cars to the limit around each and every curve.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.