It is an unfortunate reality that many automobile accidents in West Virginia result in fatal injuries. In addition to the loss of life, fatal automobile accidents result in financial hardship, pain and suffering, and in many cases, property loss as well. Even the most cautious, safe motorists can fall victim to the tragic events that surround automobile accidents, and in some cases, accidents are just that – and are unpreventable. However, in many cases, fatal automobile accidents are the result of negligence, recklessness, or preventable situations.
While understanding statistics may not prevent all automobile accidents, driver awareness is an excellent tool to help reduce the chance of a catastrophic accident. In fact, the more aware that drivers are of the circumstances that contribute to automobile accidents, the more likely they are to avoid many such circumstances.
Automobile Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regularly releases information and statistics on automobile accidents in order to raise awareness. Statistics released in 2011 indicate the following concerning West Virginia:
There were 337 fatal automobile accidents in West Virginia in 2011
- 238 of the fatal automobile accidents occurred in rural areas
- 99 fatal automobile accidents occurred in urban areas
- 463 motorists lost their lives in fatal accidents in 2011
The majority of motorists killed in automobile accidents were over 21 years of age
261 vehicle occupants died in fatal accidents including 132 individuals who were not properly restrained, and 84 individuals who were properly restrained
Traffic statistics in 2011 indicate that only a handful of fatalities in West Virginia were among young children and toddlers, which officials believe is due to a high rate of safety belt and child seat use. Additionally, in West Virginia, children up to age eight are required to sit in a child safety seat.
In addition to the number and concentration of automobile accidents, the NHTSA and other agencies regularly release data regarding the cause of automobile accidents. In 2011, the most significant causes of automobile accident fatalities include:
- 250 roadway departures
- 202 single vehicle crashes
- 114 speeding accidents
- 110 rollover accidents
- 37 intersection-related accidents
- 34 accidents involving large trucks