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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Monday, April 01, 2013
Media Contact: Sunni Brown
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

DMV Urges Walkers to Use Caution this Spring and Summer
Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities; Distracted Walking, Walking After Drinking Dangerous

RICHMOND - The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is reminding pedestrians to stay safe this spring and summer as warmer weather brings an increase in people out and about walking. Walking is an excellent form of exercise almost anyone can do, but walkers are urged to use caution and take measures to stay safe.

Statistics from Virginia's Highway Safety Office show a thirty-five percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2012 (101 fatalities) compared to 2011 (75 fatalities). Fifty-seven percent of the fatalities occurred between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight and thirty-three percent of the pedestrian fatalities are attributed to the pedestrian drinking.

In 2012, thirty percent of pedestrian fatalities were ages 51 to 65, while twenty-eight percent were ages 21 to 35. Prince William County, Fairfax County and Chesterfield County recorded the highest number of pedestrian fatalities.

"Statistics we have show that the majority of pedestrian fatalities are happening in urban areas where there is a lot of foot traffic every day, but we are encouraging people everywhere to be safe," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, Governor McDonnell's highway safety representative. "These types of incidents can happen just as easily in more rural areas where crosswalks may not be as readily available and there is less street lighting."

DMV offers the following tips to help walkers stay safe:

Don't walk distracted.
Distracted walking can be as dangerous as distracted driving and is emerging as an issue as more people use smartphones. Talking on the phone, texting, and listening to music while walking can make it harder for a person to pay attention to what is going on around them.

Don't walk after consuming alcohol.
Drinking and walking can be as dangerous as drinking and driving, as a person who has been drinking may not be aware of surroundings and may walk in front of traffic.

Use a crosswalk and walk against traffic.
Not crossing at an intersection or crosswalk is the leading cause of pedestrian fatalities. Use a crosswalk whenever available. Drivers are more likely to be expecting walkers in a crosswalk. When walking or jogging, make sure to walk against traffic so you can see what is in front of you.

Wear proper clothing.
When walking, wear light colors so motorists can see you. When walking at night, wear reflective clothing and consider carrying a flashlight to make yourself more visible to drivers.

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