Residents of West Virginia should be aware that mortality rates spike dramatically during the Thanksgiving season. The reason is twofold: More accidents occur on the roads, and more people have coronary events.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in a report released on Oct. 27 that it is looking for ways to reduce the regulatory hurdles faced by companies developing self-driving cars. Road safety groups believe that fully autonomous vehicles could virtually eliminate road deaths in West Virginia and around the country and several federal agencies, including NHTSA, launched a Road to Zero campaign in October 2016 that hopes to reach this milestone within 30 years.
West Virginia drivers may be at greater risk of being involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident than in previous years. The past two years have shown a sharp increase in traffic fatalities after years of decline, and some experts believe that the increasing use of smartphones could be responsible.
No one can blame West Virginia motorists if they're perplexed by increasing traffic deaths coming at a time when cars have more safety features than ever. For the second straight year, the number of people killed in car accidents has increased.
Some West Virginia motorists may feel that they are comfortable texting and driving, but many drivers also feel that it is unsafe for others to do so. Progressive Insurance conducted a survey in August 2017 and received about 1,000 responses from drivers who were at least 18.
Every year in West Virginia, thousands of people are seriously injured in traffic accidents. Some of these accidents could be prevented if everyone drove with their headlights on during the day. While laws in Europe and Canada require motorists to drive with their headlights on during the day, there are no similar laws in the U.S.
West Virginia drivers may be interested to learn that lane departure warnings and blind spot alerts can prevent car accidents, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, drivers and vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. have been slow to adopt these safety alert systems.
The mountain roads of West Virginia challenge drivers every day, but the future might replace human drivers with fully automated cars navigated by computers. Large corporations like General Motors, Intel, Google and Apple have been investing billions in driverless cars and touting their safety potential. Despite their optimistic predictions, however, multiple barriers could slow the replacement of human drivers.
West Virginia motorists who consider themselves to be responsible drivers could still be in danger of making a mistake that most people aren't aware of when they do it, which is falling asleep behind the wheel. Fatigued driving is a serious problem in the United States that can have deadly consequences, and that is why one company has started a Kickstarter fund for a device it is developing that will literally shock sleepy drivers to wake them up.
Falling energy prices and favorable economic conditions have led to an increase in vehicular traffic in West Virginia and around the country. More Americans on the nation's roads means more traffic accidents, and fatal crashes have increased alarmingly after decades of steady decline. Economists believe that new jobs will continue to be created and fuel prices will remain low, and this has road safety advocacy groups worried.