Red-light cameras have encountered a fair share of suspicion and criticism, and some of it is just. For example, some cities do use cameras more as a way of increasing revenue and less as a way of reducing violations and accidents. Yet West Virginia residents should know that the benefits are real.
Drivers in West Virginia may be surprised to learn that data reveals that when drivers engage in one distracting behavior, it is likely that they are going to juggle other distractions while they are behind the wheel. The data also reveals that commercial drivers are most likely to use their cell phone when they are driving at about 65 mph.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently had 2,003 adults take its Sleep Prioritization Survey. Asked whether they had ever struggled to stay awake while driving, 45% answered in the affirmative. This is a startling statistic, but it backs up the fact that drowsy driving is, indeed, a public health concern in West Virginia and across the U.S.
Many of the new cars on sale in West Virginia and around the country are packed with technology that is designed to help their drivers to avoid accidents. However, features like lane assist and adaptive cruise control could actually be making driving on the nation's roads more dangerous, according to a recent American Automobile Association study. The nonprofit organization's Foundation for Traffic Safety watched videos to see how semiautonomous safety systems were used in cars, including the Jeep Cherokee, Honda Accord and Tesla Model S, and they discovered that drivers who engaged the features were almost twice as likely to become distracted.
Every day in West Virginia and across the U.S., 30 people die in drunk driving car accidents. This amounts to one person every 48 minutes. Drunk driving is a serious epidemic, but there is technology out there that can help combat it. A bill was introduced in Congress that, if implemented, would take advantage of this tech and possibly save 7,000 lives every year.
Negligence is an essential concept in the personal injury laws of West Virginia, as in every other state, and it refers to the failure of someone to exercise reasonable care toward others. In the case of auto accidents, it would be the failure of drivers to look out for other drivers as well as for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
Drivers in West Virginia probably don't need to be told about the danger that opioid use can pose on the road. Opioids impair one's movements and cognition, and this can lead to drowsy and inattentive driving. Unfortunately, more drivers who cause crashes are being found with opioids in their system. In 2016, the percentage of such drivers was 7.1% whereas in 1993, it was only 2%.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that it is developing a new and upgraded crash test focusing on the effects of side crashes. West Virginia drivers should know that this test will likely be launched in 2020. The updates to the side testing include a higher impact speed and a heavier movable barrier.
Distracted driving is a problem on many roads in West Virginia and throughout the country. It's estimated that about nine people die in accidents that were caused by distracted drivers each day in the U.S., and approximately 100 individuals are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers daily. The financial impact of distracted drivers on society is around $40 million annually. This puts distracted driving almost on par financially with the impact caused by those who drive under the influence.
Ice, winter storms and poor road conditions lead to over 2,000 road fatalities in West Virginia and across the United States each year. Staying safe on the roads during winter means preparation and vigilance while driving.