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.
West Virginia motorists know the risks associated with drunk or distracted driving. However, they may not be aware that getting behind the wheel while sleep-deprived can be just as dangerous.
A 2016 study by an auto insurance comparison company that was based on 2015 statistics has found that West Virginia was slightly above average in its ratings for best and worst drivers in the country for that year. By analyzing data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and correlating it to certain criteria, the researchers were able to quantify disparate conditions and rank states from best to worst according to driving safety and driving practices.
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.