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W.Va. highway fatalities drop in 2013 to 325

BECKLEY (AP) — Highway fatalities in West Virginia are continuing to decline.

The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program says 325 people were killed in accidents on West Virginia’s highways in 2013. That’s down from 338 in 2011 and 339 in 2012. The lowest number of highway fatalities is 315 in 2010.

Safety program coordinator Lt. Paul Blume tells The Register-Herald that two laws passed in 2013 contributed to the latest decline. One makes a driver’s failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense. The other makes texting or using a handheld cellphone while driving a primary offense.

A primary offense means a driver wouldn’t have to be stopped for another violation first.

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