Safety Leader Challenges Virginians to End Traffic Deaths

National Traffic Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman set an ambitious goal for Virginia next year — to reduce the number of traffic fatalities to zero. In 2012, 777 Virginians died in wrecks involving cars, motorcycles, trucks and other vehicles.  Hersman said all of the crashes were avoidable.

Hersman is a graduate of Virginia Tech and George Mason University, so Virginia road safety is something she understands and clearly feels passionate about.

The creeping increase in traffic deaths and injuries in the state is troubling. Traffic fatalities rose an estimated 1.4% and injuries were up almost 6% in 2012, even though Virginia drivers traveled fewer miles than they did in 2011.

Speeding or driving too fast for conditions was a contributing factor in the deaths of 271 people in Virginia last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Drunk driving was a contributing factor in the deaths of 211 people.

The Virginia Distracted Driving Summit was an educational opportunity for the Virginia Coalition for Distraction Free Driving, a network of organizations that are dedicated raising awareness about distracted driving.

A project of the nonprofit DRIVE SMART Virginia, the conference focused on eliminating human errors that trigger automobile wrecks. DRIVE SMART Virginia has been in business since 1995, and the summit is part of a larger strategy to engage public officials, law enforcement, community agencies and the public in a conversation about how to stop distracted driving accidents.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has found that distracted driving is a factor in a significant percentage of crashes and near crashes.  In response to the distraction danger of texting while driving, lawmakers in Richmond passed a statewide a ban on texting while driving, which went into effect in July.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident caused by another driver, you have rights and may be entitled to financial compensation. An experienced Richmond personal injury lawyer can explain your legal options.