Most people don’t expect to have a car accident when they put their key into their car’s ignition. Unfortunately, for many people, it happens without warning. And in West Virginia, it happens more often and too often ends in fatal auto accidents.
You might think that a more populous state like Texas, California, or Florida would have a higher rate of fatal auto accidents. But that’s not necessarily the case, even though they are among the top ten states for fatal auto accidents. While their total accident numbers are higher because of their greater population numbers, the percentages of fatal auto accidents are different.
Where West Virginia Ranks
Current statistics put West Virginia in one of the top five states for fatal auto accidents. The Mountain State has a fair number of winding rural roads, negligent drivers, and a high rate of drug use which leads to driving under the influence (DUI).
West Virginia is one of the top five states with the highest number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. (The other four states are South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arizona.)
So far in 2022, West Virginia has had:
• 294 vehicular deaths
• 265 fatal crashes
• 1.51 deaths per 100 million miles driven
• 19,447 total vehicle miles
Even though West Virginia has a considerably smaller population than other states, with no major city of more than 50,000 residents, the Mountain State has unfortunately one of the highest death rates per 100 million miles traveled.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also ranks West Virginia as one of the states with the highest number of fatalities. The Mountain State’s rate is 14.5 deaths per 100,000 people; the national average is 11, and to the north, Pennsylvania is 8.
If you’ve lost a loved one to a fatal car crash, speak with a West Virginia auto accident lawyer to learn more about your rights. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and collect compensation on behalf of your loved one.
The Pandemic’s Effects
After Governor Jim Justice’s “stay at home “declaration in March of 2020, and the subsequent “stay safe at home” order in May of 2020, drivers significantly curtailed their driving throughout the state as employers shifted towards remote working. With fewer cars on the road, the accident rate dropped significantly.
But that didn’t stop accidents entirely, nor did it mean a reduction in loss of life. Charleston saw three fatal car accidents in 2019 but saw six fatal car accidents in 2020. The injury rates for Charleston’s car accidents also increased in the same year. Even though the total crash numbers went down, they were more likely to include serious injuries or fatalities.
DUIs decreased partly due to the governor’s executive order limiting the operations of bars, restaurants, and casinos. The idea was to limit the spread of the virus. Without open nightspots, residents were unable to go out for drinks. The increase in drug-related DUIs also indicates that the closures led to an increase in drug consumption. In 2020, 77 crashes in Charleston involved drugs, up from 62 crashes in 2019.
Chad Love, West Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer
We’ve been helping West Virginians for over 25 years with auto and other accidents. From police reports to repairs to dealing with insurance companies, we’re ready to help you navigate through the complexities of an auto car accident case. Speak with attorney Chad Love before you speak with insurance companies and lawyers from the other party, especially if there has been a fatal auto accident incident.
If you’ve been involved in a Charleston, WV car accident and need help, contact us at The Love Law Firm, or call us at (304) 344 5683. Your consultation is free and we only collect if we win your case.