The Times West Virginian


April 17, 2014

Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.

Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?

The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

Lt. Paul Blume, coordinator of the SRHSP, said this number is down from 338 in 2011 and 339 in 2012. Not major differences but differences nonetheless.

And what’s the reason for this decline?

Lt. Blume believes the new primary seatbelt law, as well as the distracted-driving law, has a lot to do with it.

“The Legislature passed and put into law in July the primary seatbelt law, as well as the distracted-driving law,” Blume said. “I think those things really contributed to those numbers going down.”

He believes people are getting the message to “buckle up and park the phone.”

“Those aren’t just numbers — those are family members, moms, dads, brothers, sisters and fellow West Virginians.”

This seatbelt law took four years to be enacted and, with the passage of the distracted-driving law, 2013 was a huge advancement for highway safety.

“I think these laws will make a real difference in the number of crashes,” he said.

Blume warned that in the coming months, law enforcement will be heavily monitoring the highways for seatbelt violations and distracted driving.

The lowest number of fatalities, 315, was recorded in 2010, but Blume said he hopes to see those numbers even lower in 2014.

Here are some of the programs coming under Target Red, a campaign that all regional Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) representatives use to spread awareness of the dangers of red-light and stop-sign violations.

DUI enforcement programs such as Over the Limit, Under Arrest, Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over, SADD and Checkpoint Strikeforce are GHSP’s impaired-driving initiatives.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Program is the lead agency for West Virginia’s participation in federally mandated and funded highway safety improvement measures.

The purpose of GHSP is to encourage, promote and support safety throughout West Virginia.

The state is split into eight traffic safety programs that cover all 55 counties. The bases of these operations are located in the population centers of Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Clarksburg, Huntington, Parkersburg, Martinsburg and Wheeling.

Each region has a designated coordinator to develop and implement the measures that their regions require to lower the total crashes, injuries and fatalities on the roadways in West Virginia.

These figures aren’t down by any major figure. But the fact they are down at all shows that some of these programs aimed at bringing them down are working.

Text Only
  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads