The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

January 26, 2014

Go low

Primary seat belt, distracted driving laws seem to be having an effect

Along with the exceptionally cold temps that have squeezed southern West Virginia in their icy grip, there is another number dropping, as well.

And this one is something we can be happy about.

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

That is 13 fewer than in 2011 and 14 fewer than in 2012.

“Ain’t no big thing,” you might say.

We would disagree.

First, we would argue that fewer families were left to grieve the deaths of loved ones.

Another positive note is that it appears that changes effected by the Legislature last year are really making a difference.

In July 2013, the primary seat belt law, which permits police to cite motorists for seat belt violations without having to first stop them for another offense, took effect.

It took four years to pass this law and Beckley Police Lt. Paul Blume, coordinator for the Southern Regional Highway Safety Program, said that coupled with the passage of the distracted driving law, it is hard not to draw the conclusion that West Virginians are safer on the roads because of the new statutes.

Blume is fairly convinced — as are we — that these laws are making a real difference.

Drivers who are properly restrained and are giving their full attention to the highway before them should naturally be better able to react more quickly to changes in road conditions, weather and other drivers.

The need to be hyper-focused while out on the highways has been reinforced these past few weeks as Mother Nature has certainly put the hammer down on tough conditions.

Subzero temperatures that prevent anti-icing measures from working, blowing snow that reduces visibility, and snow-covered roads that leave us wondering whether we’re driving in the proper lane are just a few of the issues faced by winter drivers.

This is definitely not the time to have the cellphone out, texting an inane photo of what you just had for dinner.

Given the mess that has been left on the roads of late, we believe it is also appropriate to add other safe driving tidbits.

Slowing down is probably the best of those, but also remember to have properly inflated tires, good wiper blades, windshield washer and an emergency kit.

And when in doubt, stay home.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • The play’s the thing

    TWV twins reveal local riches that can’t be found anywhere else

    July 27, 2014

  • Primary care

    DHHR program weans folks away from the ER

    July 24, 2014

  • Rain? What Rain?

    Community still enjoys auto fair despite uncooperative weather

    July 23, 2014

  • Do tell

    It’s hard to keep a secret in today’s here-a-camera, there-a-camera, everywhere-a-camera world. Whatever one does that is embarrassing is immediately posted on YouTube, Facebook or other social media of choice.

    July 22, 2014

  • Juvenile justice

    West Virginia nearly doubled the rate it sent youths to juvenile facilities from 1997 to 2011, in contrast to declining rates of youthful incarceration elsewhere in the United States.

    July 20, 2014

  • Thumbs — Saturday, July 19, 2014

    July 19, 2014

  • Do something

     Johnstown police have charged three men in the brutal murder early Sunday of a city academy student.

    July 18, 2014

  • Showcase

    For White Sulphur Springs, there’s hardly enough time to catch a breath.

    July 17, 2014

  • Bon appetit

    Agriculture and farm products can help diversify state economy

    July 16, 2014

  • Generous

    Outsiders can say what they will about West Virginians — but they can’t say we’re stingy.
    Time after time after time, we band together to help our neighbors out of a jam, aid someone down on their luck or otherwise in a bad way.

    July 15, 2014