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.
West Virginia residents might be surprised to learn that roughly 5,000 people died in 2015 because of a drowsy driver, according to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The report also noted that the there is not enough information to show the full extent of this dilemma.
With the ability to communicate via cellphone on social media platforms, there is an ever-growing enticement for West Virginia motorists to engage in these distractions while behind the wheel. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that on a daily basis around the country, more than a thousand individuals are hurt and eight die because of a car accident caused by a distracted driver.
Despite significant progress in lowering the fatality rates for car accidents in West Virginia and across the U.S., a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, establishes that much work needs to be done. The report, released on July 6, compares the U.S. fatality rates to those of 19 other wealthy countries, including the UK, Sweden, Japan and others.