News and Views

VBT : Safety Improvements Needed to Benefit Virginia

According to recent data from DRIVE SMART Virginia, the entire state of Virginia saw more than 120,000 automobile crashes in 2016. From those accidents, nearly 63,000 injuries and almost 750 fatalities occurred. Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads led the state in number of crashed and number of injures/fatalities, respectively. NOVA saw the highest number of crashes, with 28,198. Hampton Roads experienced 16,811 injuries and 145 fatalities.

Road safety improvements must be made for all drivers to decrease the number of accidents, injuries and mortalities. Increased funding for transportation will provide additional resources for safety improvements across the Commonwealth. Safety enhancements can reduce traffic congestion, which in turn can limit the number of traffic crashes, injuries and casualties. Limiting traffic congestion also helps increase safety by allowing emergency vehicles get to their destinations in a more efficient way.

New road projects bring with them the latest safety developments and standards, including guardrails, sidewalks, paved shoulders, widening of roads, newly paved roads, fixing potholes, building roundabouts and increasing visibility. For example, paved shoulders provide safety benefits for motorists and pedestrians like reducing head-on crashes and offering a stable surface off of the roadway for pedestrians to use when sidewalks cannot be provided. Other benefits include providing emergency stopping space for broken-down vehicles, increasing effective turning radii at intersections and reducing shoulder maintenance requirements.

The benefits of transportation safety improvements will not only save lives but improve the overall trip for all drivers— public and private. We must secure more funding to build new road projects to keep our drivers safe as they travel from place to place in their daily lives.

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