Posted on January 17, 2019 in Automobile Accidents
Every year hundreds of people lose their lives on the highways of Virginia. Cars are now safer than in the past but there is little evidence of a fall in fatalities. Fatal road accidents in Virginia claimed almost 800 lives in 2018 according to the American Automobile Association.
The figures that predated New Year’s Eve suggested 2018 was only slightly less deadly than 2017 in Virginia, a year that saw a dramatic spike in highway deaths.
In Virginia, 843 people died in traffic accidents in 2017. Between January 1, 2018, through December 26, 2018, another 791 lives were lost, according to AAA.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is yet to release official statistics. However, the provisional death toll in 2018 exceeds that of 2016 when 761 people lost their lives in car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and other highway wrecks in Virginia.
State transportation officials vowed to take a long hard look at highway safety in the wake of the 2017 spike in deaths. A massive increase in deaths on motorcycles partly accounted for the rise.
The Daily Press noted 153 people lost their lives in Hampton Roads accidents in 2017, up from 123 in 2016.
Fatal road accidents in Virginia hit an all-time low of 700 in 2014. However, the death toll has crept up ever since. As Virginia car accident injury lawyers, we are seeing large numbers of people being killed and injured in the Commonwealth.
What Are Reasons for Fatal Road Accidents in Virginia?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes as many as 94 percent of car crashes are caused by human error. Other causes of crashes include vehicle defects.
Highway officials say a rise in distracted driving at a time of increasingly sophisticated smartphone technology, may be fueling the spike in fatal road accidents in Virginia.
Traffic deaths hit a three-year high during the 2018 Labor Day weekend when 12 people lost their lives in 11 wrecks. That was the highest number of Labor Day crashes recorded since 2015. The 2018 tally included fatal accidents in Newport News, York County, and Norfolk.
Virginia State Police took part in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) in 2018. C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, nationwide traffic safety initiative intended to cut road crashes, deaths and injuries caused by drunk driving, excess speed, and the failure to wear a seat belt. Police step up highway patrols over certain holidays.
AAA honed in on the dangers of distracted driving on the back of the 2018 figures.
Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager Public and Government Affairs for AAA said:
“While impaired driving may top the causation list for roadway fatalities one year, and distracted the next, the fact is that drivers are responsible for their lives and the lives of every single person on the roads with them at any given moment in time. Not only must drivers pay attention to safety first, but passengers must help by speaking up when there is an unsafe situation.”
Over 37,000 people die each year on the roads of America, equating to a fatal collision every 15 minutes.
AAA note first responders were hurt in at least six Virginia crashes in 2018. Lieutenant Brad Clark, a firefighter with Hanover Fire and EMS lost his life.
Virginia saw a 3 percent rise in school bus crashes from 2013 to 2017. In November 2018, a Newport News school bus was involved in a crash with a moped.
AAA and Virginia highway authorities are increasingly concerned about distracted driving. In 2017, 208 people lost their lives and more than 14,600 people were injured in crashes that were a direct result of distracted driving in Virginia. Records for 2018 suggest the state recorded 22,612 distraction-involved crashes leading to 12,780 injuries and 133 fatalities.
Distracted driving is one of the most serious threats to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians Younger drivers use their cell phones more than other drivers. Virginia outlawed texting and driving but its anti-distraction laws are not as strict as those of some states.
AAA lists the tops three distractions as rubbernecking at roadside incidents, taking your eyes off the road, and using a cell phone while at the wheel.
The number of pedestrians who lost their lives in Virginia again hit double figures in 2018. The AAA states at least 110 pedestrians died in 2018. The count for 2018 was 116.
Hire an Injury Lawyer after Fatal Road Accidents in Virginia
The scale of death on the highways of Virginia remains a cause for concern. Every year our injury lawyers help the families of people killed in fatal road accidents in Virginia. We file wrongful death lawsuits against at-fault drivers and hold them to account. If you have lost a loved one in a road crash, please call us today for a free consultation at (757) 219-2259.