Category Archives: Seatbelts

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.

Importance of Seat Belts in WV Car Accident Law

West Virginia, like almost every other state, has a mandatory seat belt law. Thus, there is a limited “seat belt defense” which means if you are injured in a car crash while not wearing a seat belt, and the injury was caused or made worse due to the lack of a seat belt, the amount of damages you can collect may be reduced.

In other words, you are “comparatively negligent” and therefore are partially responsible for causing your own injuries, even if you were not responsible for the accident itself. It is important to consult an experienced auto accident attorney for advice regarding your particular situation.

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

Car Accident Death Risk Increases as Kids Get Older

WOWK TV out of Tornado, West Virginia recently reported on some alarming statistics. The full article can be found here.

A partnership between the Children’s hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Company funded a recent study showing that the risk of children dying in car accidents increases as children get older.

Out of about 10,000 passenger deaths studied, more than half were riding with a driver under the age of 20. Furthermore, two thirds of these children were not wearing a seatbelt.

Calhoun Teen Dies in Wreck

From the Charleston Gazette:

Calhoun teen dies as unbelted passenger in two-vehicle wreck

CHLOE – A Calhoun County teenager was killed over the weekend in a two-vehicle collision that injured several other people.

Joseph Padgett, 17, of Orma, was a passenger in a car driven by his mother, Janice Marks, 35, according to a news release from the West Virginia State Police.

Their vehicle was traveling south on W.Va. 16 near Chloe when it was struck by a vehicle driven by Cody Clark, 16, of Chloe. Clark’s vehicle was going north when it left the right side of the road. He then overcompensated and his vehicle crossed the center line, according to the release. The wreck took place just before midnight Saturday.

Padgett, who was not wearing a seat belt, suffered severe head injuries and was taken by HealthNet to CAMC General Hospital, where he died Sunday night, according to the release.

His mother and his stepfather, Phillip Marks, were in CAMC General on Monday with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the release.

Clark was taken to a hospital by family members, according to the release. A passenger in his car, Nicholas Stevens, 17, of Big Bend, was not injured.

No charges had been filed Monday. The investigation is continuing.