Between political upheaval and the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a year like no other in recent history. Like the rest of the country, the residents of Charleston, WV experienced a lot of hardships in 2020. At the same time, there were some positive things to come out of this challenging year.
In particular, the number of car accidents dropped significantly in Charleston between 2019 and 2020 – likely due to fewer people being on the road. There were also far fewer crashes involving drunk drivers in 2020, as compared to 2019. However, the data also shows that the accidents that did occur in 2020 were more likely to result in injury or even death.
Based in Charleston, our law firm is dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation that they deserve for their losses. To help you understand the scope of the problem of motor vehicle collisions in the area, our team of car accident attorneys have compiled data from all car accidents in Charleston in 2020 – and compared those numbers to statistics from 2019. In doing so, we hope that we can help to make people throughout Charleston be safer when behind the wheel.
The Good News: Fewer Total Accidents
With its winding roads, steep mountainous terrain and changing weather, West Virginia isn’t always an easy place to drive. The statistics on car accidents in WV show this to be true.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), our state has a higher number of car crash fatalities than the U.S. average. Throughout the United States, there are 11.0 deaths in motor vehicle collisions per 100,000 people; in West Virginia, that number jumps to 14.5 per 100,000 people. By comparison, in neighboring Pennsylvania, there are 8.3 car accident fatalities per 100,000 people.
For a state with a relatively small population, WV experiences a relatively high rate of car accidents. In the capital city of Charleston, car crashes remain a major problem.
In 2020, however, the number of wrecks significantly decreased. According to available data, in 2019, there were 2,050 total motor vehicle accidents in Charleston – or an average of 5.61 crashes a day. In 2020, that number dropped to 1,505 collisions, or an average of 4.12 accidents a day.
These statistics are likely tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 24, 202, Governor Jim Justice issued a stay-at-home order. While this order was replaced by a “safer at home” order in early May 2020, these mandates led to a significant decrease in traffic, as many businesses switched to remote work and West Virginians avoided being out and about when possible.
Around the same time, the state issued an executive order that limited the operations of bars, restaurants and casinos in order to limit the spread of the virus. Because West Virginians did not have the option of going out for drinks for at least part of 2020, it isn’t surprising that the number of alcohol-related accidents decreased significantly as well.
In 2019, there were 96 alcohol-related (DUI) crashes in Charleston. By 2020, that number had dropped to 66 drunk driving accidents in Charleston.
While these statistics on alcohol-related accidents are positive, it is important to note that because the total number of crashes decreased, the number of DUI collisions went down accordingly. In 2019, alcohol-related accidents accounted for 4.6% of all Charleston, WV crashes. In 2020, that number dropped slightly to 4.3% of all accidents.
The Bad News: More Accidents Caused Injuries
Although the total number of accidents in Charleston decreased significantly from 2019 to 2020, it wasn’t all good news. When examining the data more closely, it is clear that the crashes that did occur were more likely to result in injuries or even death.
In 2019, there were 3 fatal car accidents in Charleston, representing just .14% of all crashes. In 2020, there were 6 fatal motor vehicle accidents, accounting for .39% of all collisions. These numbers show that even though there were fewer crashes overall in 2020, they were far more likely to be deadly compared to accidents in 2019.
Similarly, the injury rate for Charleston, WV car accidents significantly increased in 2020:
- 2019: 153 accidents caused injuries, or 7.46% of all crashes
- 2020: 175 accidents involved injuries, or 11.62% of all collisions
This data demonstrates that lower total accident numbers don’t show us the full picture. While it is true that there were fewer crashes overall in Charleston in 2020 (as compared to 2019), these accidents were much more likely to cause injuries – or even death.
The number of crashes involving drugs also rose in 2020. In 2019, 62 accidents in Charleston were attributed to drugs – or 3.02% of all wrecks. In 2020, that number shot up to 77 crashes linked to drugs – or 5.11% of all accidents. It is possible that this is due to more people turning to drugs when they were unable to go to bars or restaurants because of the pandemic.
Hurt in a Charleston Car Accident? Reach Out Today.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you may be out of work and facing mounting medical bills and other expenses – along with physical and emotional pain. At Johnstone and Gabhart, we understand how traumatic this experience can be. We are here to help.
With decades of combined experience, our law firm is well-suited to helping you get the money that you deserve for your injuries. We’ll stand by your side throughout the process, starting with a free consultation, where we will explain your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim. To schedule an appointment with a Charleston, WV injury attorney, call us today at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.