Call to request a free consultation: 540.345.2000

Personal Injury Lawyers in Southwest Virginia, Virginia, and Nationally

2015 Brought 7.7% Increase in Traffic Fatalities

Nationwide, 35,200 people died in traffic accidents during 2015. This is an increase in traffic fatalities of 7.7 percent. The Governors Highway Safety Association and State Highway Safety Office members are alarmed because this in the largest year-over-year increase in the number of fatalities since national traffic crash fatalities - Altizer Lawrecord-keeping began. The increase in fatalities for pedestrians and motorcyclists were closer to 10 percent.

In Virginia, 753 people died in traffic accidents in 2015. This is particularly disturbing because it is an increase of 7.57 percent from 2014, which saw a decrease of 5.53 percent from 2013. During 2015, the number of motorcycle fatalities declined slightly, the number of bicycle fatalities increased slightly, and the number of pedestrian fatalities decreased noticeably.

How is it that when vehicle manufacturers and adding safety features each year, the number of injuries and accidents on the roadways is increasing? Two categories of traffic accidents may provide an answer. On Virginia highways, 241 people died in alcohol-related crashes. This is a 5.12 percent increase from 2014. In addition, 4,917 people were injured in alcohol-related crashes. In the second category, 323 people died in speed-related crashes in Virginia. This is a 7.67 percent increase from 2014. There were also 14,052 people injured in speed-related crashes.

By looking to the efforts that contributed to marked decreases in the number of traffic fatalities in the past, we discover that strong laws combined with highly-visible law enforcement and vigorous public education campaigns were effective. These tactics contributed to a 25 percent decrease in the number of traffic fatalities nationally between 2005 and 2014. In fact, the record low number of fatalities was achieved in 2011.

Clearly, advances in automobile design will not reduce the number of traffic fatalities. It will not help the most vulnerable drivers on our roads – motorcyclists, bicyclists, those riding scooters and mopeds, and pedestrians. Perhaps we need to reinvigorate the combination that achieved reductions in highway fatalities.

Ultimately, our experience is that we all need to do three things:

  1. Stop driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription medication)
  2. Slow down.
  3. Pay attention to our driving.

If every driver on any Virginia road would remember that driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted driving could result in a crash, we might take the first step in the right direction. What might be better would be if every driver would remind him-/her-self every time we get behind the wheel of a car that every accident could cost a human life. That life could be our own. Or we could live with the guilt of taking the life of another person.

If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a traffic accident, call the compassionate and experienced attorneys of Altizer Law, P.C. We’ll fight for justice for you.