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West Virginia's highway program seeks to reduce car accidents

In the first quarter of this year, 46 people lost their lives on West Virginia's roadways. This is well below the average of roughly 68 deaths per quarter in 2014. But, that comparison can be misleading because the annual number of fatal accidents is not necessarily evenly distributed across all four quarters of the year. In other words, some parts of the year may have a disproportionate number of deadly accidents compared to other times of the year.

Regardless of what the data means, the state of West Virginia has a comprehensive program to improve highway safety in the state. The Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is part of a federally funded initiative to promote highway safety. The GHSP is split into eight regions throughout the state, and it has a base in Charleston and seven more in the state's heavily populated cities.

The GHSP's 2015 safety performance plan includes a goal to someday eliminate all highway fatalities in West Virginia. Its intermediate goal is to cut traffic fatalities in half by the year 2030. Likewise, the GHSP is aiming to drastically cut the number of serious injuries over the coming years. It has implemented various strategies to achieve these goals, most of which target the behavior of drivers. For example, the GHSP and its partner organizations seek to use enforcement and education to reduce the number of impaired driving incidents.

It is reassuring to know that the state government is firmly dedicated to reducing motor vehicle accidents. Ultimately, however, the brunt of the responsibility rests on each individual driver. Too many car accidents are the result of drivers not paying attention to the road as well as other forms of negligent driving. While the GHSP can help lead the way toward safer roads, each driver should do their part to help achieve this goal.

Source: Transportation.WV.gov, "West Virginia Highway Safety Plan Fiscal Year 2015," accessed on April 16, 2015

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