More people from Virginia and neighboring states died in traffic crashes and auto accidents in 2012 than in 2011, according to early estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic fatalities in Department of Transportation Region 3 — which includes Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Kentucky, and North Carolina — rose an estimated 4%.
Overall, U.S. car crash deaths are on the rise. Fatalities were up in eight of 10 regions around the nation in 2012. In the two regions that experienced a decline in auto crash deaths, the decrease was only 1%, and in the majority of the country the increases were between 4% and 14%.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported that 775 people were killed in Virginia auto collisions in 2012. This represents a 5% increase in car crash deaths from 2010. In fact, auto crash fatalities have been steadily rising in Virginia since 2009.
The Virginia DMV found that injury accidents are up as well. In 2012, car accidents injured 3,622 more people than in 2011, and a comparison between Virginia car crash injuries in 2010 and 2012 shows an increase of 5,586 injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Richmond is one of the most dangerous metropolitan areas in the country in terms of traffic crash deaths. In 2009, there were 11.5 deaths per 100,000 residents, and Richmond was in the highest tier of a four-grade traffic fatality ranking system that the CDC uses to model traffic safety. Per capita, Richmond was the 11th most dangerous metropolitan area in the nation with respect to car crash deaths.
The numbers are troubling, especially considering research by the Public Interest Research Group showing that the number of miles Americans drive has been declining for the past eight years.
The economic downturn, coupled with demographic changes, likely caused Americans to drive less than they did in the early 2000s. As the Baby Boomers retire and Millennials increasingly migrate to urban centers where they can travel on public transportation or on foot, Americans drive fewer miles overall than they did in 2004.
Have you been injured in a traffic accident or lost a loved one in a fatal car crash? If the answer is yes, the Richmond-based attorneys at Geoff McDonald and Associates are here to help. The legal staff at McDonald and Associates works with clients in Richmond to win compensation for auto accident related injuries and deaths.