West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program urges motorists to exercise caution as busy vacation season begins
CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) urges motorists to obey all traffic laws as they return to the roadways this Memorial Day holiday following extended closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many travel destinations and restaurants were either closed or open with limited space and accommodations last year. With many West Virginians being fully vaccinated and mask mandates being relaxed, we are expecting the Summer 2021 travel season to be a busy one, and West Virginia roads will likely be busier beginning this weekend. “I know West Virginians are ready to take a vacation and begin traveling again now that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 and the weather is warming up," said Gov. Jim Justice. "I want to urge all of our drivers to take it easy, use caution around our construction zones, and make sure you leave plenty of time to get to your destination." The time period that begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day is referred to as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer due to increased crashes and fatalities that occur during summer months. It is a tendency the GHSP is hoping to curb during 2021. Just look at some of the facts:
What does this mean for West Virginians as we return to our normal lives? It means we must remain vigilant and ensure that we follow all traffic laws and safety tips. “We have seen an uptick in fatal crashes during this past week, and we are working to stop that trend. Wearing a seat belt every time you’re in a vehicle increases your odds of surviving a crash tremendously,” said Bob Tipton, GHSP Director. “At West Virginia’s current seat belt use rate of just over 90%, an unrestrained driver or passenger is 8.42 times more likely to die in a crash,” Tipton said. “Seat belts save lives, and I encourage everyone to always buckle up.” “Most crashes are caused by avoidable behaviors, such as alcohol or drug use, speeding, or distraction. It’s as simple as this: obey the laws,” concluded Tipton. Being a safe driver does not take extra effort. It simply means:
- - An average 260 teens are killed nationwide in car crashes each month during the summer, an increase of 26% compared with the other months of the year.
- - Men are more likely to be involved in a crash caused by speeding.
- - Men have a lower seat belt usage rate than women, especially in rural areas.
For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit www.dmv.wv.gov/ghsp or call (304) 926-2509.
- - Wear your seat belt correctly every time you are in a vehicle.
- - Never drive if you’re impaired by any substance, including alcohol, prescription drugs and illegal drugs.
- - Put your phone down and drive focused.
- - Follow the posted speed limit.
- - Watch for motorcycles and Share the Road with motorcyclists.
- - Look for pedestrians and bicyclists while driving.