Virginia – Fatal Car Crash Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported there were 753 vehicle-related fatalities in Virginia in 2015. Statistics indicate vehicle fatalities increased 7.57 percent from the prior year. The highest concentration of fatal crashes occurred in rural areas with 485 of the total fatalities taking place in those locations. Vehicle fatalities rose 7.2 percent in 2015, the largest increase in five decades.
The bulk of vehicle fatalities were in the Southside region where 24.4 fatalities per 100,000 took place. Hampton Roads (6.9 per 100,000) and the Northern (4.1 per 100,000) regions of the state had the lowest fatality rates.
What Causes Virginia’s Vehicle Fatalities
Virginia has the 14th lowest fatality rate (10.9) in the country with 9 fatalities per 100,000 people in the state. The vehicle fatality rate is driven by alcohol-related crashes even though the fatality rate fell to 36 percent in 2014, a significant decrease from 43.6 percent in the prior year. The number of accidents varied greatly by region with the largest number of fatalities (8.9 percent) taking place in the Southside region while 1.5 fatalities took place in the Northern area.
In addition to alcohol, car fatalities can be attributed to things like poor car maintenance, outside conditions and forces (weather), and how skilled the person operating the vehicle may be. Drivers that use poor judgment when operating motor vehicles and commit unsafe acts like texting while driving, or applying makeup and shaving. Lack of sleep plays a major role in one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Getting behind the wheel without proper rest jeopardizes the vehicle operator as well as others on the road. Driving experience (or lack of it) can be a direct cause of vehicle crashes and fatalities. For example, an older driver may not have the appropriate reflexes to respond when situations arise in traffic, and younger drivers do not have the necessary experience and training to maneuver in and around problems on the road.
Reducing Traffic Fatalities
The state of Virginia has enlisted the assistance of law enforcement to implement programs like “Click it or Ticket,” to ensure everyone in a moving vehicle is wearing a seat belt, and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” which utilizes random checkpoints to prevent and stop drunk driving. They also offer continuous support and training outreach programs for student drivers and to anyone new to driving to ensure everyone that gets behind the wheel to drive has received proper training and education before driving on state roads.