Greater police presence leads to reduction in traffic fatalities

West Virginia State Police say increased patrols and more seat belt use are making the state's roads safer.

West Virginia traffic deaths fell dramatically last year after increased patrols

Recently released figures show that 2014 was a relatively safe year to be out on West Virginia's roads and highways. West Virginia State Police say that traffic deaths declined dramatically last year when compared to 2013, according to the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. While there are numerous potential reasons for the dramatic decline, police and safety advocates say that increased law enforcement efforts deserve at least some of the credit for helping prevent serious car accidents in the state.

Traffic fatalities drop

The figures released by the West Virginia State Police show that there were 271 traffic fatalities in the state last year, which was a large drop from the 332 traffic deaths West Virginia recorded in 2013. Furthermore, the number of overall fatal car crashes also declined, from 305 in 2013 to 240 in 2014. The figures also suggest a long-term downward trend given that there were 339 people killed in traffic accidents back in 2012.

There are numerous factors that can help explain why traffic deaths in West Virginia took such a steep downward turn last year. For one, vehicle and highway engineering have been improving considerably in recent years, which have helped more people survive car crashes all across the United States.

Law enforcement

In West Virginia, however, much of the credit is going to law enforcement efforts to crack down on dangerous driving. As West Virginia MetroNews reports, a campaign by police to get drivers and passengers to buckle up appears to be paying off. The Governor's Highway Safety Program suggested that seat belt use in the state was up by as much as 8 percent last year after not wearing a seat belt was made a primary offense in 2013.

Police also say they have been focusing their efforts on some of the top causes of accidents. Grants last year gave police the opportunity to conduct more targeted patrols aimed at reducing DUIs, distracted driving, and other dangerous driving behaviors. Those patrols also allowed police to capture 90 fugitives and make an additional 542 felony arrests.

Motor vehicle accidents

As officials themselves point out, while serious car crashes themselves often make the evening news, for victims it is the months and years after a crash that often prove to be the most challenging. The injuries sustained in a crash may not only require expensive medical treatment, but they could prevent victims from returning to work and earning a living.

Because of these challenges, accident victims should call a personal injury attorney today. The right attorney can help accident victims understand what rights they may have, including the possibility of filing claims to help cover the steep costs that often come up during an accident victim's recovery period.

Keywords: traffic fatalities, police, West Virginia, law, car accidents, Law enforcement, Motor vehicle accidents, crash, accident victims