Ohio County Has More Accidents Per Capita Than Any Other County - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Ohio County Has More Accidents Per Capita Than Any Other County In State

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A new study shows that there are more crashes per capita in Ohio County than in any other county in West Virginia.

The news startled Ohio County Sheriff Pat Butler at first.

But after some consideration, he said it actually makes sense because of our roads and our behavior.

"For instance, the speed limit up at the Highlands," said Butler. "It's another plug for me to get that reduced. Route 88 is a dangerous road. You have students traveling it day in and day out. Residents travel it day in and day out, and they think they know the roads so well that it's OK to take the turns left of center. There is texting, talking and eating while driving."

And there are drivers who are unable to read English.

Our international diversity that makes our nation multi-faceted has a down side--drivers passing through who can't read the signs!

"We've had drivers and we couldn't communicate with them or with their dispatchers," said Don Braden of A-1 Braden's Towing in Wheeling. "In one instance, we had to take a driver to a local high school to get a Spanish teacher to interpret for us."

Towing companies see it all, from fender benders to tragedies.

And these days they are seeing a lack of courtesy.

"We'll put a turn signal on to go in the left lane," says Braden. "And they'll speed up to cut you off so they don't get caught behind you."

They say the Ohio Valley seems to have more than its share of construction zones and gas drilling trucks, which are challenges to even a good driver.

And they say not every driver is a good driver.

"Drivers are more aggressive," says Tim Braden of A-1 Braden's Towing. "They're not as well trained. It used to be that every once in a while you'd see road rage. Now it's every day."

Don Braden travels the country, and he says Ohio County has one feature that is unique, and a big challenge that most of us take for granted--the Wheeling Tunnel.

"You come to the tunnel and the interstate drops to one lane," Braden notes. "It's 45 miles an hour. How many places in the whole United States does that happen?"

Sheriff Butler looks back on the things that cause accidents--one of which is not within our control, while the rest are.

"Most of the time it's speed," Butler says. "Speed, alcohol, driver distraction. And we have a lot of car versus deer accidents in Ohio County as well."

Statistically, November and December are the most dangerous driving months.

So the sheriff has advice for all drivers.

"Get off your cell phones," Butler says. "Quit talking and quit texting. Pay attention to the road because you're driving a two-ton missile."