A recent car accident in Huntington, West Virginia has prompted state authorities to alert fire chiefs and those in charge of county medical services to reinforce a policy on specialized license plates. This took place after one driver bearing an ES license plate caused an accident by turning into oncoming traffic. ES license plates are only issued to employees of a county’s emergency management services department. The driver admitted that he had not worked for emergency management services for close to 30 years. Being able to correctly identify a driver is an important part of law enforcement’s duties, in case the driver manages to flee the scene successfully and law enforcement needs to rely on witness accounts as to the driver’s identity.
The new policy is just one of many that West Virginia has taken lately to ensure that the roads are safer for drivers. This blog has previously discussed efforts to improve a particularly dangerous stretch of interstate, where a high level of tractor trailer accidents have occurred on a frequent basis. The state has also agreed to create a 511 abbreviated dial code for emergencies, which would be available at the end of the year. Several other states already have such a dial code in place. West Virginia officials believe that it will help give drivers access to better information and help them make better driving decisions.
These measures are necessary in light of evidence that West Virginia roads can be quite dangerous to drive. Residents in this state pay among the highest rates for car insurance in the country. The reasons are attributed to, among other things, a high number of teenage drivers with poor driving records and the types of vehicles driven. West Virginia drivers pay a median $2,074 in annual premiums, constituting 4.5% of residents’ income. The state with the highest premiums is Michigan at $4,409, while the state with the lowest premiums is Massachusetts at $1,128. The highest number of West Virginia accidents occurs in Ohio County, based, in part, on a speed limit that many believe to be too high.
If you or your loved one are involved in a car accident, you should not hesitate to hire a West Virginia traffic accident attorney to represent your interests. An experienced attorney would have resources to examine the accident soon after it happened and find witnesses at the scene. He or she would help you make the case that the other driver acted irresponsibly and as a result, you or your loved one were injured. Your injury resulted in anything from whiplash to broken bones or other internal injuries. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you might still be able to collect a monetary award for pain and suffering and medical bills, so long as you could prove that you were less than 50% at fault for the accident. If you were 50% or more at fault, under West Virginia’s comparative negligence system, you would not be able to collect any monetary award.