Each year, the nonprofit Drive Smart Virginia releases a report on the state’s traffic accident data. According to the most recent report, over 52,700 people were injured in Virginia motor vehicle accidents in 2020. Sadly, there were also 847 deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents—and motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 19.
Understanding the factors that contribute to collisions can help you avoid serious injuries. Below are some of the key takeaways of this year’s Drive Smart Report, based on Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute statistics from 2020.
Drive Smart reports that most Virginia auto accidents are preventable Most notably, distractions play a role in 80% of crashes. In addition to staying off smartphones and devices while driving, avoid eating, reaching for objects elsewhere in the vehicle, or doing anything else that takes your attention off the road.
The role of age
Teen drivers ages 16 to 19 played a role in 8.5% of fatal accidents in Virginia last year. Drive Smart strives to address this issue with school-based education programs about driving safety and dangers such as distractions and drinking. Parents can help at home by ensuring that adolescents develop safe driving habits and following the regulations set by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Motorists who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol have an increased auto accident risk. If you go to an event where you plan to drink, have a designated driver who agrees to take you home. You can also use a taxi or rideshare app to get home safely.
If another driver’s negligence contributes to a serious accident and you experience injuries, you may be able to file a lawsuit to cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.