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.
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.