Fatal crashes up in Virginia since pre-pandemic times

Cars driving on highway in Virginia
Cars driving on highway in Virginia(wvir)
Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 7:47 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Fewer cars on the road during the pandemic did not bring down the risk of getting in a fatal crash in Virginia and now some of these alarming stats are coming into 2022.

Right now we are in the “100 deadliest days,” for driving, which can be linked to speeding and distracted driving in the summertime. AAA says this is especially worrisome this year as fatalities from crashes seem to keep going up in comparison to pre-pandemic times.

“We saw some really unfortunate things happening out on the roadway, because some drivers were engaging in dangerous behavior,” AAA spokesperson Morgan Dean said.

Dean says the pandemic changed the roads. While the roads seemed emptier during the pandemic, it could have encouraged drivers to hit the pedal harder.

“When you look at all crashes, they were down about 21% and Virginia in 2020. But fatalities were actually up 2%, when you look at alcohol involved crashes, they were down 9% fatalities up 3%, speed related crashes down 13%, with fewer cars on the road, but fatalities were up 16%,” Dean said.

Now the concern is that dangerous driving is transferring in to 2022.

“When we start to look at some of these stats over the past two years, and what the pandemic did on the roadways, dial back that speed, follow the speed limit, make sure you’re wearing that seatbelt, and the big one, avoiding those distractions,” Dean said.

He says that is especially important now, as we enter “the 100 deadliest days.” Dean says statistically, teens are more likely to get in a crash during this time.

“Kids are out of school, there’s less structure, there’s much more free time with them, and a lot of opportunities for them to get together with friends,” Dean said. “Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of being in a serious crash.”

AAA reminds parents to have a driving talk with their teens since we are in this dangerous driving season. Albemarle County Police says its traffic unit has been working diligently to address unsafe driving.

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