Charleston, West Virginia has a thriving economy, a strong local real estate market and plenty of cultural opportunities. It is also a large urban center, which means that it experiences its fair share of serious motor vehicle collisions.
Every year, the media and safety authorities collect and analyze crash statistics to promote public safety. Looking at how frequently fatal collisions occur and where they happen can help policymakers and police officers set better priorities for the protection of the public. What do the records of crashes in recent years say about the safety of those in the Charleston area?
Charleston is relatively safe for a bigger city
Often, increases in population density directly translate to increased crash risk. The more people that live in an area or travel through it daily, the more fatal collisions tend to occur there. However, the Charleston area certainly seems to buck that trend.
In 2020, the Charleston area saw a significant increase in crashes and deaths compared with the previous years. There were seven fatal crashes, two of which involved drunk drivers. Those seven crashes involved 12 vehicles and lead to seven deaths. Three of those fatalities were pedestrians.
Despite being home to the capital of the state, Kanawha County is actually far from the top of the list of most dangerous counties in the state. WBOY ranked Kanawha County as 17th in the state based on data analyzed by the news outlet. Despite being the largest city based on geographic area and population, Charleston sees far fewer crashes than cities in other parts of the state.
What this means for drivers
It would not be beneficial for drivers to change their habits to be less safety-focused after learning the information about the lower crash rates around Charleston. Although Kanawha County and the general Charleston area see fewer crashes than Hampshire, Grant and Jackson Counties, many people will still die in collisions that drivers could have prevented with better safety practices.
Understanding the factors that contribute to crash rates around West Virginia, including distraction, municipal planning and driver habits, can help people minimize their personal risk of causing or otherwise being involved in a serious car wreck.