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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Latest Virginia Traffic Crash Facts Now Available
Data Shows 20% Decline in Fatalities from 2007 to 2008

RICHMOND - Traffic fatalities decreased by 19.98 percent from 2007 to 2008, when 821 people died, the lowest number of deaths since 1966.

Knowing the circumstances of a crash is vital for targeting Virginia's enforcement initiatives, making legislative decisions, conducting crash prevention education and awareness campaigns, and engineering roads. Virginia Crash Facts, published since 1985 by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO), is the resource for highway safety advocates to study and address long-term trends. For example, the small increases in vehicle miles traveled (.24 percent), licensed drivers (0.7 percent) and registered vehicles (.05 percent) from 2007 to 2008 shows some of the factors related to 2008's 19.98 percent decrease in traffic fatalities.

According to the 2008 Virginia Crash Facts, 135,282 traffic crashes occurred last year, a 6.96 percent decrease from 2007; and 69,130 people were injured, a .45 percent increase from 2007.

Virginia Crash Facts is used by legislators, law enforcement, state agencies, private and non-profit organizations, news media and the public. "A single traffic death can impact hundreds of friends, family members and acquaintances," said VAHSO Director John Saunders. "This information helps us pinpoint where, when and why these crashes are occurring so we can work with the Commonwealth's safety partners to continue this reduction in traffic fatalities throughout 2009."

The data in crash facts addresses a wide variety of aspects related to motor vehicle crashes including traffic controls, the environment and driver action. Here are some highlights from 2008:

  • 1,142 drivers were speeding over 70 mph at the time a crash occurred
  • 25,758 people were tested with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater, a 2.04 percent increase over 2007
  • of the 31,469 people convicted of DUI, 79.36 percent were male and 19.7 percent were female
  • most of 2008's crashes (31,554) occurred between 3 and 6 p.m.

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