Poor condition of West Virginia's roads causes more accidents

A recent report says that West Virginia's roads are deteriorating, leading to a higher accident rate.

West Virginia's roads are in a poor state and that's costing the state quite a bit, both in lives and money, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. A recently released report by the national non-profit research group TRIP found that West Virginia's road infrastructure had deteriorated significantly over the past decade. That deterioration has contributed to the state having a much higher rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents compared to the rest of the country. Furthermore, the poor condition of West Virginia's roads, highways, and bridges, costs motorists thousands of extra dollars a year in increased vehicle operating costs.

Deteriorating conditions

The TRIP report concluded that 29 percent of West Virginia's major roadways are in poor condition, with fully 55 percent described as merely mediocre or fair. Compared to TRIP's report in 2004, it is clear that road infrastructure in the state has deteriorated considerably in just over a decade. That 2004 report found that 10 percent of major roadways were in poor condition at the time and 26 percent were in mediocre or fair condition.

Furthermore, the latest TRIP report rated West Virginia's bridges as the fifth-worst in the nation, with 17 percent of bridges in the state described as structurally deficient. Again, that's much worse than 2004's report, when West Virginia's bridges were ranked 12 th worst in the United States when 13 percent of its bridges were structurally deficient.

Poor roads cost lives and money

The poor state of West Virginia's road infrastructure is likely contributing to the state's worryingly high accident rate. For example, while in 2015 the national average traffic fatality rate was 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, West Virginia's was much higher with 1.35 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles traveled. Furthermore the situation is even worse on rural, non-Interstate roads, where the fatality rate is 2.24 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles traveled, well above the 0.81 fatality rate on West Virginia's other roads and highways.

Poor roads are also hurting West Virginians in their pocketbooks in the form of increased vehicle operating costs and time spent in traffic. The report estimates that West Virginians collectively spend an extra $1.4 billion each year due to costs associated with the state's crumbling roads. In Charleston, the average motorist spends an extra $1,357 each year for items like gas and vehicle repairs related to West Virginia's poor traffic infrastructure.

Personal injury law

Anybody who has been involved in a traffic accident faces significant personal and financial challenges in the days, weeks, and months ahead. A personal injury attorney can help crash victims in a number of ways. Victims may be able to pursue financial compensation for their accidents and an attorney can help them with making a claim and negotiating a settlement that is in their best interests.