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West Virginia's roads rank poorly in safety

At one time or another, most people in West Virginia have probably driven or ridden on roads that desperately needs repair. Road conditions like small potholes or loose gravel can be inconvenient, but generally do not pose major safety threats. On the other hand, more severe road problems can lead to danger and serious accidents.

Although West Virginia is not the only state with roads that are in need of repair, it is among the most dangerous. According to a national transportation research group in Washington D.C., West Virginia ranks second in the country when it comes to traffic fatality rates.

Based on a report from the Washington D.C. research firm, the dangerous condition of West Virginia's roads is a major contributor to the state's high fatality rate. The report showed that more than one-third of the state's major roads are in mediocre or poor condition. Likewise, of all of West Virginia's bridges, 36 percent have structural problems, including 22 percent that the report refers to as "functionally obsolete."

The disrepair of many roads throughout West Virginia is undoubtedly a contributing factor to fatal car crashes and other motor vehicle accidents. However, this is not the only reason why fatal accidents occur.

All drivers have a duty to take reasonable precautions based on the road conditions. This means slowing down when roads are slick from rain or ice. Moreover, driving at slower speeds and not following other cars too closely can be important when the roads are bumpy and in need of repair.

When a person dies at the hands of a negligent driver, the victim's family can file a wrongful death claim. This kind of legal action, if successful, allows the victim's family or other personal representative to recover compensation on the decedent's behalf.

The thought of taking legal action may be difficult, especially if a family has just lost a loved one. However, by taking the first step, families may be able to find recourse that brings them closure and much needed compensation.

Source: The State Journal, "Report shows WV traffic fatality rate second highest in the nation," Ann Ali, Accessed on March 5, 2015

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