Virginia pedestrian deaths on pace for record year

Updated: Apr. 8, 2019 at 6:16 PM EDT
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(WWBT) - In 2018, 123 pedestrians were killed in Virginia according to DMV Statistics, making it the most dangerous year across the Commonwealth.

On Friday, a a 40-year-old man from Canada was struck and killed while attempting to cross West Hundred Road in Chesterfield. Witnesses at the scene immediately attempted CPR after the crash. The man was taken to a nearby hospital but later died due to his injuries.

Chesterfield police are still investigating, but say the driver did remain on scene.

Saturday in Petersburg, police say Lorenza Young was the victim of a possible hit-and-run and left injured in the road, he later died at the hospital.

The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year nationwide.

The GHSA Report highlights several trends:

  • More walking has increased exposure, as one survey estimated that the number of Americans walking to work in the past week increased about 4 percent between 2007 and 2016;
  • Most pedestrian fatalities take place on local roads, at night, away from intersections, suggesting the need for safer road crossings. Over the past 10 years, nighttime crashes accounted for more than 90 percent of the total increase in pedestrian deaths;
  • Many unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted and drowsy driving, pose risks to pedestrians, and alcohol impairment by the driver and/or pedestrian was reported in about half of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities in 2017;
  • The number of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) involved in pedestrian deaths has increased by 50 percent since 2013. By comparison, (non-SUV) passenger cars’ involvement in pedestrian fatalities increased by 30 percent over the same time period. Although passenger cars still account for the majority of pedestrian deaths, SUVs – which generally cause more severe pedestrian injuries – make up an increasingly large percentage of registered vehicles.

John Saunders, Director of the DMV Virginia Highway Safety Office, said Virginia is on track to top the number of pedestrians deaths from 2018, based on reports so far of pedestrian deaths that have already occurred in 2019.

“We have to care enough to care,” Saunders said. “That’s just the lives [lost], that impacts families, generations and generations to come. This is serious business.”

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