The rate of traffic fatalities and severe injuries resulting from auto accidents is on the decline in Virginia, according to new State figures tracking fatalities from 2007 to 2010. Among the contributing factors to this decline is increased seat belt use, stricter licensing for younger drivers, and new DUI laws.
There were 1,026 traffic deaths in 2007, 821 in 2008, 756 in 2009, and 739 in 2010. Similarly, severe injuries fell from 19,796 to 11,664 from 2007 to 2010.
As of October 19, 2012, there have been 608 traffic-related deaths in Virginia.
Connie Sorrell is with the Virginia Department of Transportation and believes that the numbers are still too high. She believes that new initiatives with specific aims to reduce a secondary crash and the scene of a wreck would help reduce the numbers. To do so, representatives of local law enforcement agencies are training to clear crash scenes faster to avoid a secondary collision.
On July 1, 2012, Virginia enforced stricter DUI laws concerning ignition interlock devices. The new law states that it is mandatory for a driver convicted of any DUI or DWI, regardless of BAC, to use an interlock device for a minimum of six months. Virginia’s new DUI laws with stricter use of ignition interlock devices is a trend being seen across the country.