There are a number of companies that have created prototypes of computer-driven vehicles to be used on the roads of West Virginia and around the country. Additionally, several automobiles already in production have limited self-driving capabilities, such as the ability to automatically parallel park. The reason for the interest in these automobiles is that there are a number of safety benefits associated with these types of vehicles, since computers don't get tired or distracted.
Traffic accident deaths in West Virginia and around the country increased alarmingly during 2015 and 2016 despite groundbreaking improvements in automobile safety systems and advances in emergency medical care. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in January that accident fatalities rose by 8 percent during the first nine months of 2016, and full-year estimates released by the National Safety Council on Feb. 15 provide equally grim reading.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. saw a 7 percent rise in fatal car accidents from 2015 through 2016. The elevated number of fatalities during that year exceeded all other one-year increases in the past 50 years. West Virginia motorists in the millennial age group may have played a part in this increase.
Emergency response personnel in West Virginia and around the country are being called to more and more accidents caused by distracted drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked electronics manufacturers like LG, Samsung and Motorola to incorporate smartphone features that make texting and driving more difficult, but a class action lawsuit filed by a group of California road users suggests that Apple has already developed just such a safety feature.
On Jan. 22, it was reported that a car accident that occurred in West Virginia left two people dead. The single-vehicle accident occurred after the driver attempted to flee when a police officer tried to pull the vehicle over for a traffic stop.
On Jan. 11, a West Virginia sheriff reported that four were killed in a car accident when a truck crossed the median and collided head-on with a flatbed truck. Another three people suffered injuries. A third vehicle, a passenger car, was also involved.
Distracted driving has caught the attention of safety officials around the nation. The issue has been on the rise in the past few years, resulting in climbing traffic fatalities. Eight people die and 1,161 people are injured every day due to distracted drivers in this country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reacted to these sobering numbers with a new suggestion.
A West Virginia man accused of driving drunk and fleeing the scene of a deadly January 2016 accident has pleaded guilty to two charges, reports indicate. Sentencing is set for February, and the man faces up to two decades in prison after admitting to leaving the scene of an accident and DUI causing death, both felonies.
Motorists who travel the roadways of West Virginia and other states across the nation may want to know about the possible dangers of using the Snapchat speed filter while behind the wheel. Following a number of incidents involving excessive speed, catastrophic injuries and loss of life, news reports suggest that the appealing, what-I-am-doing-in-the-moment application may actually encourage dangerous driving.
West Virginia residents have probably heard many warnings about the dangers of drunk or distracted driving. Though drowsy driving gets less attention, it can be just as dangerous. On Dec. 6, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study on the dangers of driving while exhausted. According to the study, crash rates go up significantly among drivers who get less than seven hours of sleep.