The growing economy and reduced fuel prices means one thing for Virginia drivers: more people are on the road. With more people sharing the roadways, driving becomes riskier than ever, even for the most cautious motorists.
According to an article by The Verge, over the last few years, traffic deaths have been hovering around 40,000. In 2017, there was a slight dip, with approximately 37,133 people killed on U.S. roadways. Interestingly, the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased by 1.2 percent during that year, while the death rate per 100 million VMTs dropped by 2.5 percent.
2018 only looking slightly better
So far, 2018 is looking better; however, the numbers remain high. During the first half of the year, there were around 17,120 traffic fatalities. This marks a 3.1 percent decrease from the same time last year.
Despite the dip in overall traffic fatalities, deaths involving pedestrians and bicyclists are at a 20-year high. The Verge article attributes this to an increase in VMTs in urban areas. Prior to 2015, traffic deaths were more likely to happen in rural areas. Moreover, accidents caused by SUVs are also becoming a major factor in traffic fatalities, particularly to pedestrians.
In 2017, Virginia experienced a total of 127,375 traffic accidents, resulting in 843 fatalities and 65,306 injuries. Since 2014, which saw a decrease in statewide traffic fatalities, the death rate has risen by 20 percent. Approximately 253 of the traffic fatalities in 2017 were alcohol-related, and 339 were speed-related.
Additionally, accidents caused by distracted driving amounted to 26,123 – a 2.5 percent decrease from 2016. However, the fatality rate from distracted driving (208 killed) increased by 18.2 percent from 2016, with 69 of those deaths involving distracted drivers who were speeding, and 56 involving distracted drivers who were driving drunk.
According to state code § 46.2-1078.1, using a handheld device while driving is a primary offense in Virginia. That means that drivers can be pulled over and cited, with fines at $125 for a first offense. Despite the penalties, many drivers continue to engage in distracted behavior. When their actions result in a devastating crash, they can be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, it’s important to take your claim seriously from the start. An experienced Virginia auto accident attorney will investigate the cause of your crash and use crucial evidence to hold negligent drivers, and their insurance companies, accountable.
Contact Davis, Davis, Davis & Davis, PC today and learn more about how we can help you.