Alcohol played a role in 29.6% of fatal auto accidents in Virginia, or nearly one of every three auto crashes. Drivers involved in alcohol-related accidents had an average blood-alcohol content of 0.13, significantly higher than the legal threshold for DUI.
However, alcohol-related crash deaths are declining overall in Virginia. In 1990, more than 50% of fatal car crashes involved drunk drivers. The year 2012 had the smallest overall percentage of alcohol-related auto accident deaths since 1988.
The increase in fatal crashes in Virginia in 2012 followed a national trend.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, deaths in auto collisions jumped by 5.3% in 2012, with a death toll of 34,080 after six years of steady decline.
NHTSA Region 3, which includes Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Kentucky, Delaware and the District of Columbia, experienced an approximate 4% increase in traffic accident deaths in 2012.
Over the long term it appears that the nation’s roads are becoming safer, despite the recent rise in traffic deaths. Aggressive anti-DUI and seatbelt safety laws are usually cited as the cause of long-term improvements. However, the 2012 NHTSA numbers make it clear that a lot of work must be done before travelers will be safe on Virginia roadways.
The Virginia Department of Transportation has been working to implement the VA Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which includes measures to prepare law enforcement agencies to collaborate at auto crash scenes, run Click-It or Ticket efforts, and set up DUI checkpoints.
In October 2012, the Virginian-Pilot reported that officers were receiving training on how to cut the amount of time it takes to clear the scene of a car or tractor-trailer accident to prevent secondary crashes. Even though secondary auto collisions are rarely fatal, VDOT is focusing on the problem because it is a straightforward, realistic goal.
Have you been injured or lost a family member in a traffic crash in Virginia? The Richmond car accident law firm of Geoff McDonald & Associates can help you get justice and compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact us today to learn more about your rights.