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Analyzing behaviors of West Virginia drivers

Too many factors are in play to attribute any single reason for the increase or decrease of traffic collisions. Nevertheless, West Virginia law enforcement agencies and federal transportation officials analyze crash data to determine how to reduce motor vehicle accidents. Crash prevention campaigns certainly don't add to the problem, but it's hard to measure how much influence they have on negligent drivers.

WVNS-TV reported a significant decline in statewide traffic accidents coincided with stepped up state police patrols. In recent years, West Virginia troopers focused efforts on locations with high fatality and drunk driving rates. Authorities also picked up the pace on patrols during traditionally high-travel periods.

The report noted the number of deadly car accidents and fatalities fell dramatically between 2013 and 2014. The fatality rate dropped from 332 deaths in 2013 to 271 fatalities in 2014 -- fatal accidents during the same period plummeted from 305 to 240 crashes. Authorities admitted that other factors could be responsible for the decline.

Some factors about West Virginia traffic crashes in 2013 were drawn out of statistics through an analysis by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. In 2013, West Virginia had a population of over 1.8 million people, with 1.75 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles driven.

Sixty-two percent of traffic deaths in 2013 occurred in single-vehicle accidents. Perhaps surprisingly, West Virginia had the lowest nationwide percentage of drivers, with blood alcohol content levels equal to or greater than 0.08 percent, the legal limit. Twenty-four percent of drivers killed in state accidents were intoxicated, compared to rates as high as 47 percent in other states.

Comparatively, West Virginia's numbers seemed to be above average in 2013, but state police felt 2014 was a better year for motorists. Every effort toward saving a life or preventing injuries reduces pain and suffering, medical costs and wage losses. Civil claims make compensation possible for victims who aren't spared.

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