Good news on the trend toward fewer deaths on the nation’s roads and highways was tempered last Friday by a report of yet another fatal car crash in Newport News.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released statistics on Oct. 9 showing that the first six months of 2009 saw 1,245 fewer traffic fatalities than occurred during the same period of 2008. The agency also noted that fewer people have died in traffic accidents each year since 2005.
Still, as U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was quoted as saying in a New York Times article on the NHTSA report, “We still have far too many families losing their loved ones every day in this country from distracted driving, drunk driving and not using their seat belt.” This piece of perspective was underscored when a Ford Taurus slammed into a passenger van near the corner of Balthrope Road and Ridgewood Parkway during rush hour Friday evening.
The police have released few details about the accident, according to the Daily Press. What is known is that 78-year-old Rosa Lee Lewellen, who was riding in the van, was ejected from the vehicle and declared dead shortly thereafter. Investigators are looking into whether the Lewellen was wearing her seat belt and which driver was responsible for the collision.
My colleagues and I have represented people involved in serious and, too often, fatal traffic accidents since the 1980s. Each case represents a tragedy for the victims and their families. While I am pleased to see fewer fatal car crashes, I must agree with Secretary LaHood that far too many accidents take place each year.
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