Va.’s 2020 data show increase in alcohol, speed-related deaths

FILE: Cars on an interstate
FILE: Cars on an interstate(WAFB)
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 12:10 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Despite a decrease in the number of drivers on the road during the pandemic, statistics released by Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration show an increase in car accident deaths and speed-related fatalities.

The Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety released on Thursday the 2020 crash statistics, compiled through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ automated traffic records system.

Although there were significantly fewer drivers in 2020, the number of crash fatalities increased by 2% to 847 deaths. In 2019, 827 crash deaths were reported.

Speed-related fatalities increased to the highest number in 10 years with 406 fatalities reported — a 16% increase from 2019 deaths.

Deaths related to car crashes when people weren’t wearing a seat belt also increased: 343 fatalities were reported in 2020, compared to 304 in 2019.

“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,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “These decisions have heartbreaking consequences that affect families and communities across Virginia.”

Alcohol-related deaths increased by more than 3%, from 264 deaths in 2019 to 272 last year.

Deadly crashes related to large trucks also increased by 25%, from 52 to 65 during the recorded year.

During 2020, there was a significant decrease in work-zone and bicyclist fatalities.

A summary of the data is as follows:

Category20202019Percentage Change
Speed-Related Fatalities406349+16.33%
Unrestrained Fatalities (no seat belt worn)343304+12.83%
Alcohol-Related Fatalities272264+3.03%
Mature Driver-Related Fatalities179201-10.95%
Distracted Driving-Related Fatalities121120+0.83%
Pedestrian Fatalities114124-8.06%
Motorcyclist Fatalities8789-2.25%
Teen Driver-Related Fatalities (Ages 15-19)7265+10.77%
Large Truck-Related Fatalities6552+25%
Moped Rider Fatalities1213-7.69%
Work Zone-Related Fatalities1117-35.29%
Bicyclist Fatalities813-38.46%

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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