Previously, 2008 claimed the lowest amount of Virginia accident deaths, at 822 deaths. Contrastingly, 750 people died on Virginia roads in 2009, quite a bit fewer than last year. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the decrease in accidents from 1,026 in 2007 to the current number.
Melanie Stokes, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles contributes the decrease to a combination of different factors; however, she cites increased seat belt use as a major component. In fact, a study conducted by Old Dominion University revealed that Virginia’s self-reported seat belt use rate was at an all time high at 82.27 percent in May of 2009. As a Charlottesville Personal Injury Attorney who represents families in Virginia Wrongful Death Claims, I can tell you that one of the easiest ways to help yourself is to fasten your seat belt.
She also attributed the downward trend to the coordinated effort by state government agencies and nonprofit organizations to reduce traffic fatalities. The Virginia Highway Safety Office as well as the state police and local law enforcement have been working together to enforce programs such as the “Click it or Ticket” seat belt use enforcement, “Operation Air, Land, and Speed” a speed reduction and enforcement plan, and “Checkpoint Strikeforce” which discourages drunk driving through media and law enforcement outlets.
The Commonwealth of Virginia’s efforts seem to be paying off. Only six days into 2010, Virginia has already experienced one less traffic fatality than at the same point last year. Hopefully, each year will continue to see the same success.