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W.Va. highway deaths second lowest on record in 2013

By Wendy Holdren

Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program announced Wednesday 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.

“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 said he hopes 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.”

Blume said the seat belt 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 in the coming months, law enforcement will be heavily monitoring the highways for seat belt 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…

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