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Auto accidents: West Virginia has room for improvement

The most recent statistics complied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that West Virginia has a ways to go with respect to roadway safety. In many categories, the number of fatal West Virginia car accidents far outpaced the national average.

It appears from the statistics that carelessness on West Virginia's rural roads are of particular concern. In 2013, 241 people died on the country roads or open highways, as opposed to 91 people dying on one of West Virginia's city streets. It also seemed that speeding and not using seatbelts was a persistent problem that led to serious auto accidents.

Perhaps most disturbingly, West Virginia has high numbers with respect to alcohol-related fatalities. In 2013, 91 people died in crashes that involved at least one driver being legally intoxicated. While this is just over one-third of all fatalities, West Virginia apparently lags behind the rest of the country with respect to alcohol awareness.

For example, while across the United States, just over 10 people in 100,000 died because of a drunk driving accident, in West Virginia, closer to 18 people in 100,000 died. Moreover, the top state in the country only counted 3 deaths per 100,000 people that were alcohol related.

Certainly, getting behind the wheel drunk is a very irresponsible thing to do, and it puts other West Virginia motorists at risk. While many different means should be employed to reduce drunk driving deaths and other fatalities, one means is to hold careless or intoxicated drivers accountable via a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

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