A lawsuit filed in West Virginia could result in a verdict against the state's highway department. A driver and her passenger were injured in a car accident involving a department vehicle driven by one of its employees. The car collision occurred on a stretch of Route 26 running through Preston County. Though the case is just now coming to trial, the accident happened in early 2015.
Reports from the National Safety Council indicate that the number of car accident fatalities rose significantly between 2015 and 2016. Its data shows that approximately 40,000 people died in automobile accidents during 2016, many of which took place in West Virginia, and it represented a 6 percent increase. Compared to 2014, there has been a 14 percent increase in fatalities, which is the biggest two-year increase in more than 50 years.
West Virginia residents will be setting their clocks forward by one hour on March 13 to mark the beginning of daylight saving time, and research conducted at two leading universities suggests that they may be wise to take extra care on the roads during the following few days. Medical research has found that even minor disruptions in rest patterns can profoundly influence human behavior, and car accident rates tend to increase when drivers across the country have enjoyed less sleep than they are accustomed to.
Some West Virginia motorists may be engaging in dangerous behaviors while behind the wheel, such as driving while fatigued, even though they disapprove of them. A survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers in the 19-to-24 age range were particularly prone to dangerous behavior. Almost 60 percent of drivers in this age group said they had texted or emailed while driving compared to just over 31 percent of drivers in other age groups. Only 5 percent of drivers across other age groups said that driving more than 10 mph in a school zone was acceptable while more than twice as many 19-to-24-year-old drivers believed this.
Police in West Virginia say that alcohol consumption and excessive speed led to a single-vehicle accident that killed a 59-year-old Huntington man on the afternoon of Feb. 14 in Cabell County. A 36-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were critically injured in the crash, which happened on Ohio River Road near Lesage at approximately 5:30 p.m. The accident led to Ohio River Road, which is also known as Route 2, to be closed to both northbound and southbound traffic for more than four hours as first responders and accident investigators went about their duties.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., has released a report that evaluates the progress made by each state in implementing highway safety laws. West Virginia motorists may be interested to know how their state's highway safety laws fare when compare to those of other states.
West Virginia residents may be aware that smartphone technology is tied to a nationwide distracted driving problem. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are as many as 1.5 million people texting and driving at any given moment. While it's clear that using smartphone apps while driving can be a factor in many car accidents, it's unclear whether smartphone and app makers hold any liability for these accidents.
West Virginia motorists may have heard that a California man is suing Apple for willfully selling smartphones that encourage distracted driving. The complaint, filed in early January, seeks to halt the manufacture of iPhones until lock-out technology is added to the devices to keep people from texting while driving.
It is against the law in some states to operate a motor vehicle and use a smartphone at the same time, as some drivers tend not to exercise sound judgment. West Virginia residents may be interested to know that both drivers and the creators of certain types of technologies may be held liable for a vehicle accident. This is demonstrated by a lawsuit filed against Apple, accusing the company of not implementing a FaceTime patent that may have prevented the death of a young child.
Snapchat advises those in West Virginia and elsewhere to not use its speed filter while driving. However, some say that the warning is not enough, and they also say that such filters may encourage reckless driving. In October 2016, a 22-year-old man lost his life just minutes after posting a video in which his vehicle accelerated to speeds as high as 115.6 miles per hour.