Overall crash fatalities increased in Virginia last year; speed-related fatalities reached 10-year high
The Governor’s Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety has announced the Virginia crash statistics for 2020. The final numbers are now available for analysis in the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ state-of-the-art automated Traffic Records Electronic Data System (TREDS), the Commonwealth’s central repository for crash data and related information.
In 2020, there was a significant decline in traffic volume because of the pandemic. However, while serious injuries declined by five percent last year, the number of overall crash fatalities in the Commonwealth increased by two percent, with 847 fatalities reported, compared to 827 in 2019. Speed-related fatalities increased to the highest number in at least 10 years with 406 fatalities reported, a 16 percent jump over 2019 fatalities. The number of people who weren’t wearing their seat belt killed as a result of crashes also increased in 2020, with 343 fatalities reported compared to 304 in 2019.
Led by the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Governor’s Executive Leadership Team is composed of representatives from the Virginia Departments of Motor Vehicles, Health, Education, Transportation and State Police. They are charged with reducing serious injuries and fatalities on Virginia’s roadways and driving change in the Commonwealth’s highway safety culture.
“Although the number of vehicle crashes decreased during the pandemic, we saw more fatalities related to speed, alcohol, and failure to wear a seat belt. These decisions have heartbreaking consequences that affect families and communities across Virginia,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Our transportation agencies are committed to working diligently to reverse these trends, so everyone arrives home safely.”
“Our state troopers and other first responders encounter the devastating effects of speed on our roadways every day,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “These incidents and others like it could have been prevented by drivers and passengers making the right choice to follow the speed limit and buckling up. These aren’t simply statistics – they are people’s lives.”
- Submitted by Jessica Cowardin, Communications Specialist