Each day in Virginia, two people on average die in motor vehicle accidents and 100 are injured. To reduce the number of traffic deaths and injuries, several Virginia state agencies have joined to implement the Virginia Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Stakeholders say that the plan’s long-term goal is to move the state to zero deaths on the highways every year.
In 2016, more than 700 people died in motor vehicle accidents in this state. From 2011-15, there were over 3,000 deaths and 46,000 serious injuries. State officials also note that from 2011-15, traffic deaths were the #2 leading cause of deaths in Virginia.
That number of fatalities and injuries also takes a serious toll on the budget for the Commonwealth. It is estimated from 2011-15 that fatalities and injuries in car accidents cost the state $5 billion.
For all of the above reasons, the state government is taking aggressive action with the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VDOT) and the Virginia State Police plan to work together to fight against traffic deaths in the state by implementing its Arrive Alive plan throughout the state. This plan lays out solutions arrived at through studying hard data to address major highway and roadway problems:
- Young drivers
- Occupant protection
- Impaired drivers (drunk, drugged, distracted, drowsy)
- Roadway departures
The plan also stresses three areas that can support a reduction in crashes: safety data enhancements, connected and autonomous vehicles and emergency medical services.
One of the most important components of the plan is to get the message out that when you get behind the wheel, it is time to focus only on driving. Cell phones should be put away, seatbelts buckled and driving taken very seriously.
Our personal injury attorneys who are licensed and work in Virginia are pleased to see state officials striving to reduce the number of Virginia traffic deaths and injuries. Getting the number of accidents down to zero may be difficult to achieve, but there is no doubt that considerable progress can and should be made.
The fact is that so many serious traffic accidents resulting in death or serious personal injury can be avoided. There needs to be a strong public relations effort made to stress to drivers that when you drive, you must pay complete attention to your driving. This age of smartphones and 24/7 media and distractions may be entertaining, but when you are distracted behind the wheel, terrible accidents can and do occur. Many of our large personal injury settlements in car accidents are due to negligence and inattention behind the wheel. We hope in the next few years, this new strategic plan leads to a reduction in these types of incidents.