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At least 240 people were killed in car accidents in West Virginia in 2015, according to state statistics. The fatality rate in West Virginia is higher than the national average. 

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Experts speculate the mountainous terrain, speeding, and alcohol consumption on the state’s many rural roads are the major factors leading to the higher death rate. This is borne out by the data, which indicates 62% of fatal crashes in 2015 happened on rural roads. Meanwhile, 32% of fatal crashes involved speeding.

Also, 1/4 of all fatal car accidents in the state involved alcohol with a driver having a BAC of .08% or higher, the NHTSA reports. In Monongalia County, 236 people have been arrested so far for drunk driving in 2017.

The number of car crash deaths in West Virginia is 14.7 per 100,000, which is well above the national average of 11.6 per 100,000. It also is higher than the rates for the surrounding states – Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Kentucky is another state where the number of fatal car accidents is higher than the national average, experts say.

Experts also say that rural roads are in many ways more dangerous than highways in urban areas because they are narrower and are not as well maintained.

West Virginia also sees severe winter weather, and much of the winter maintenance of roads falls to the Division of Highways in the state. It appears that state workers have difficulty keeping narrow country roads plowed and cleared during major snowstorms.

A recent $1.6 billion road bond in the state may help workers to better maintain crumbling roads and improve safety. But this will take time. In the meantime, West Virginia drivers should slow down and think safety first.

Our View

Our Virginia personal injury attorneys are aware of the higher accident and fatality rate in West Virginia. West Virginia drivers should keep in mind that they are often driving on rural roads with less room for error. Having to deal with more severe winter weather also means that drivers should use extra caution and drive more slowly when the weather turns nasty.

People who have been injured by a negligent driver in West Virginia or Virginia should remember that they have legal rights. If the other driver was clearly negligent, such as drunk driving, speeding or running a stop sign, you may be eligible for compensation for your accident injuries. In bad Virginia or West Virginia car accidents, the damages to which you may be entitled can be quite extensive, such as this $1 million Virginia Beach car accident settlement we negotiated. 

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