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Automobile warning systems can help prevent crashes

Drivers in West Virginia and across the United States may be avoiding collisions and staying safer on the roadways due to automotive warning technologies. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that systems like lane departure warnings or blind spot alerts can play a major role in cutting down the number of car crashes, particularly those that cause injuries. The IIHS study looked at over 5,000 car accidents in 2015 of the type that these systems are intended to prevent.

The study also examined what happened in the case of vehicles that were equipped with the warning systems. The researchers found that sideswipe, head-on and single-vehicle traffic accidents were down by 11 percent when vehicles had the warning systems. Even more importantly for roadway safety, the risk of injury crashes was cut by 21 percent when the warning systems were present. The IIHS estimated that if all vehicles had these technologies in 2015, over 55,000 unnecessary traffic injuries could have been avoided.

Distracted driving and how to prevent it

Experts believe that distracted driving may be a cause in the rise in traffic fatalities across West Virginia and the rest of the nation. Smartphones have proven to be one of the most frequent sources of distraction, with 52 percent of users stating in a Consumer Reports survey that they have texted, sent emails, browsed the Internet, and watched videos while behind the wheel.

Consumer Reports has strongly advised drivers not to text and drive, and it is illegal in many states. Some smartphone manufacturers have, for their part, introduced safety features to keep drivers from being distracted. For example, Apple systems come with a mode that blocks all alerts to incoming calls and texts. Androids and iPhones can be set so that they send automatic replies.

Drugged driving is a growing concern

While drunk driving receives a lot of media attention for the risks it poses, West Virginia motorists have reason to be concerned about another form of driving under the influence - drugged driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working to draw attention to this type of reckless behavior.

There has been an increase in auto accidents attributable to driving while under the influence of drugs. Some have associated this with two widely disparate trends: cannabis decriminalization and the national opioid public health crisis. The NHTSA has announced that it is committed to enhancing scientific and data-oriented work around drugged driving, and it will be hosting a national summit in March 2018 to advance an action plan on the issue.

Bill sponsored by senators aims to reduce fatal truck crashes

A collision between a car and a tractor-trailer can be devastating in any circumstance. Many of the worst injuries come when a car slides under a tractor-trailer. While modern automobiles have many safety features, underride crashes can render many of these features completely worthless.

According to federal statistics on truck accidents, underride crashes are responsible for over 200 deaths per year. To combat this, a bipartisan group of Congress members has authored a bill to require additional guard rails on the sides and front of all tractor-trailers. These guards are designed to prevent cars from sliding underneath a trailer during a collision.

Overloaded trucks create unsafe conditions on the road

It is well known that overloaded trucks are unsafe to drive. Statistics show that overloaded cargo is a leading cause of trucking accidents, and, year after year, motorists in West Virginia and other states are placed at risk of serious injury or death by truckers whose payloads are unbalanced or overweight. In addition to other safety concerns, overloaded trucks are difficult to handle and have a reduced emergency handling capability, which could ultimately result in a crash.

Less experienced drivers may not always judge a truck's stopping distance realistically under the best of circumstances. When a semi is carrying too much weight, it could gain speed when descending an incline more quickly than they expect, and they might realize too late that more force to the brake is required to avoid a collision.

NTSB still investigating Washington train crash

West Virginia residents may have heard about the train derailment that occurred in Washington state in December 2017. At the time that the train derailed attempting to go around a curve, it was traveling at 78 miles per hour. However, the posted speed limit where the crash occurred was only 30 miles per hour. Three people were killed and 62 were injured in the accident.

An additional eight people were injured after train cars left the track and dangled over Highway 5. Despite the high rate of speed at the time of the accident, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have not yet determined the official cause of the accident. The engineer and conductor have not yet been interviewed as they recover from their injuries. According to the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, an automatic braking system is being tested and could be operational by June.

3 areas of safety to consider when driving in winter weather

With winter well underway, you and many other West Virginia motorists have likely already had your fair share of close calls on the road. Unfortunately, weather conditions can play significant roles in car accidents, and often, those incidents can easily cause serious or even fatal injuries. When individuals behind the wheel also drive recklessly or while distracted, the chances of involvement in a crash increases.

Luckily, you can make efforts in hopes of preparing yourself for, hopefully, safe travels. Because road conditions themselves can change the effectiveness of your normal driving actions, you may need to make certain modifications to work towards ensuring your safety and the safety of others.

Roughly twice as many killed in mines in 2017

In 2016, coal mining deaths hit a record low with eight being reported. In 2017, there were 15 deaths at coal mines, and 8 of those deaths occurred in West Virginia mines. Other states to report deaths included Kentucky and Alabama. Many of these deaths occurred before a new head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration was appointed in September.

While the number of miner deaths increased from 2016 to 2017, the number is still low by historical standards. In 1966, there were 233 deaths of miners and related workers while there were more than 2,000 deaths 100 years prior. The 2017 total was the fourth consecutive year that the number of mining-related deaths in the U.S. has been lower than 20. West Virginia has seen the highest number of miner deaths in six of the past eight years.

Several factors contribute to many car crashes

For people in West Virginia and across the United States, it's always reasonable to be concerned about a car accident when getting behind the wheel. Every year, over 60 million collisions happen across the country, and numbers have grown in both 2015 and 2016, showing signs of an escalating trend. Car accidents aren't only damaging to property; they can cause serious personal injuries or even death. This means that reducing or eliminating auto accidents is of major concern to researchers and engineers, many of whom study the causes of crashes in order to develop strategies for reducing the number of preventable injuries and accidents.

This research has highlighted several types of common car accidents, many of which can be prevented with minor changes to driving behavior. One common and dangerous cause of auto accidents is drowsy driving due to exhaustion. Getting behind the wheel when overly tired can have severe repercussions; 21 percent of fatal accidents and 7 percent of accidents overall are linked to drowsy driving. These crashes can be prevented by avoiding driving when overly tired or alone at night.

An open fracture could pose considerable health risks

Most people find themselves suffering serious injuries unexpectedly. Though some individuals may be thrill-seekers who understand that their actions come with considerable risk for injury, this title may not apply to you. As a result, you are more likely to suffer injuries due to an accident, and possibly one caused by the negligence of another individual.

Car accidents commonly cause considerable suffering. In some cases, you may suffer broken bones that can prove complicated to set and from which to recover. In particular, if you suffer an open fracture, you could face substantial risks of infection and other issues that could cause you to need extensive medical attention and treatments.

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