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How safe are Virginia drivers compared with the rest of the country?

By Ken Gibson on May 19, 2017

Vehicle accidents are an unfortunate reality in Virginia. The Commonwealth had more than 6 million registered vehicles, and more than 82 million estimated miles driven throughout our state in 2015. We had more than 6 million licensed drivers.

So how does Virginia rank, compared with other states, in safe driving?

How Safe Are You on Virginia Roads?

Virginia had 753 people killed in crashes in 2015, a 7.6 percent increase over 2014, according to Virginia’s DMV. More than 60,000 people were injured, another increase over 2014, with more than 125,000 traffic accidents reported in Virginia.

The major culprits? Alcohol and speeding. Alcohol claimed 241 lives in Virginia, and speeding claimed 323.

Good news? Alcohol-related injuries and deaths in Virginia decreased slightly from 2014.

Bad news? Speeding-related injuries and deaths in Virginia increased by up to 8 percent, which is considerable. Speed-related crashes in 2014 Virginia: 23,857. Out of those, 9,115 caused injury or death. By 2015, Virginia’s wrecks causing injury or death reached 14,375.

How Safe Is Eastern Virginia?

Many crashes, both interstate and non-interstate, occur on The Peninsula: in James City County, York County, and New Kent County; and farther south, around Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake. Of those, it will surprise no one that almost all recent accidents occurred on I-64.

The Middle Peninsula, surprisingly, listed a considerable number of collisions due to “fixed object-off road,” while not racking up nearly the overall number of accidents that The Peninsula does. These are not crashes between two vehicles, but a vehicle hitting a non-moving object NOT in the road. For example: hitting a guard rail, traffic signal, bank, ledge, or tree.

In the Northern Neck, interstate traffic becomes more dangerous as it moves toward Washington, D.C. More than 260 traffic crashes and 136 disabled vehicles were reported by CBS in early winter 2016, in an overall-increasing trend of accidents in the Northern Neck.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation is always working on improvements across the Commonwealth.

How Does Virginia Compare with the Rest of the United States?

To further put Virginia’s vehicle safety in perspective, deaths from traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death in people under the age of 34 nationally, according to The U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2015, Virginia averaged nine fatalities per 100,000 people, which is slightly below the national average of 10.9. By comparison, North Carolina averaged 13.7, and Tennessee averaged 14.5 such fatalities, which are above the national average.

What Is Virginia Doing to Become Safer?

Our Virginia General Assembly is also working to address safety issues. Here are two new laws that both went into effect in July of 2016:

  • Dooring” when unsafe is now a traffic infraction with a $50 fine. Dooring is when someone opens a car door, creating the potential for a collision with an oncoming vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian. It is very dangerous to cyclists in particular.
  • Learner’s permit holders may not have more than one passenger under 21 in the car, except for family members, even when a parent is present. In addition, learner’s permit holders may not use a cell phone or wireless device while driving, except for emergencies or when stopped on the side of the road.

Get Advice for Free If You Are in an Accident

While Eastern Virginia is safer than many places, any injury or death caused by a car accident is one too many. That’s why we at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys work to prevent injuries through community education. But when a senseless accident happens, we seek the highest dollar amount for you, as quickly as possible, to restore you or your loved one’s well-being. We are here to help you. For a free consultation, contact us today at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free (855) 781-6777.

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Community service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.