Hampton Roads again leads Virginia metro areas in vehicle crashes
Hampton Roads led all metropolitan areas in Virginia for vehicle crashes in 2022, outstripping Richmond and Northern Virginia during a period of increasing fatal crashes statewide.
The region, which encompasses such cities as Hampton, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, recorded the highest rate of vehicle crashes in Virginia in 2022, at 1.8 crashes per million vehicle-miles of travel (VMT), according to a February report by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.
The crash rate eclipses rates in the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany region, with 1.7 crashes per million vehicle miles of travel; the Richmond region, with 1.63 crashes per million VMT; and Northern Virginia, with 1.41 crashes per million VMT. The data also reflect an uptick in crashes after a statewide decrease during the height of the pandemic in 2020.
“While we haven’t drilled too deeply into the Northern Virginia data, as part of the work we’ve done for our Regional Safety Study, we’ve noticed that speeding and distracted driving have become more prevalent in our region, particularly since the pandemic began,” said Keith Nichols, principal transportation engineer for the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, in an email to the Mercury. “These are two of the most prevalent causes of crashes in the region, particularly ones with severe outcomes.”
During a Jan. 19 meeting of the HRTPO board, researchers said another factor contributing to the rise in crashes is alcohol use.
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