Drivers in West Virginia and throughout the country are more likely to have accidents on Thanksgiving than on any other holiday, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For example, in 2012, 654 Christmas Day crashes resulted in fatalities while on Thanksgiving Day that same year, it was 764. Roughly 50,000 additional Thanksgiving Day accidents were not fatal.
As families in West Virginia and the rest of the country look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, they may not be aware that it may be the country's deadliest holiday. Medical professionals have known that the mortality rate in the United States tends to peak near Thanksgiving and stay high throughout the winter season. The two main reasons for the high mortality rate are vehicle accidents and heart trouble.
Many West Virginia motorists have likely heard of notorious road rage incidents even if they have never had an encounter with an aggressive driver themselves. In fact, authorities report that aggressive driving is a major cause of automobile accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people are driving aggressively when they put the lives or property of others at risk by engaging in a succession of moving vehicle violations.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens around the country, and the problem seems to be getting worse despite huge leaps in automobile safety technology. Government data shows that traffic accident fatality rates across all age groups shot up by more than 7 percent in 2015 after falling steadily for almost a decade, and the death rate among teens grew by an even more alarming 10 percent. Almost one in 10 of the teens killed on the roads in 2015 lost their lives in a distracted driving crash, and safety organizations around the country were bringing attention to the issue during National Teen Driver Safety Week that took place in October in West Virginia and around the country.
Accident investigators in West Virginia are sifting through evidence collected on Oct. 12 to determine what may have prompted the driver of a Volkswagen sedan to cross the center line and enter the path of oncoming traffic in Wood County. Four people were injured when the Volkswagen subsequently struck an approaching Chevrolet head-on. The accident took place near the intersection of Dutch Ridge Road and Staunton Avenue in Parkersburg at about 9:30 a.m.
The U.S. government wants to eliminate all traffic fatalities in West Virginia and across the U.S. within the next 30 years, according to an initiative announced by the Department of Transportation on Oct. 5. The plan was created in response to a 7.2 percent increase in U.S. traffic deaths last year.
Authorities say that an investigation is underway following a fatal accident on Sept. 18 that claimed the lives of two people from West Virginia. According to media sources, the deadly collision took place in the neighboring state of Ohio at approximately 8:55 p.m. with personnel from the Washington County sheriff's office and Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department responding to the scene.
Technology could help older West Virginia drivers travel more safely in the future. Smart car features help drivers steer away from obstacles, brake during an emergency and avoid collisions. Some technological innovations alert drivers to the presence of another vehicle or person in their blind spot, while others alert the driver to a vehicle stopped up ahead. These innovations are often built into many newer vehicles and offered as optional amenities in others.
West Virginia motorists may want to be more alert on the roads after reading some statistics that have been released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, 2015 saw a 7.2 percent jump in fatalities compared to the previous year. In total, some 35,092 people died on the roads. The nation's transportation secretary put out a call for scientists and specialists to perform additional research and analysis of the problem.
In August 2016, a driver in China recorded footage of his Model S scraping another vehicle that was on a road's shoulder. However, Tesla responded by saying that the accident was the driver's fault as his hands weren't on the wheel when the crash occurred and that he had his head down at times. Drivers are warned ahead of time that the automatic steering feature is designed to assist them.