Pedestrian Crash Related Deaths Rising in Fairfax County
This post has been updated with a graph differentiating pedestrian, driver and passenger fatalities from 2010 thru 2015.
One tragic death is too many. From 2010 to 2015, the number of pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes has risen. Street Smart aims to combat this disturbing trend.
*These statistics do not include crash data from Virginia State Police or other area law enforcement agencies.
Since 2002, Street Smart has used media, public awareness efforts, and teamed with law enforcement to educate drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists about safe usage of the roadways. Their goal is to change motorist and pedestrian behavior, in order to reduce deaths and injuries resulting from crashes.
An informed driver is a safe driver so please take a moment to review some basic safe driving tips. They may save your live or the life of someone you love.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 31% of all fatal auto-related accidents involve drunk drivers. In 2014 alone, drunk driving crashes led to 9,967 deaths nationwide. Even at lower levels, having alcohol in your system reduces reaction time and coordination. The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit in Virginia is .08 percent. Drinking and driving not only dramatically increases your chances of a crash, risking death or serious injury, but it also can lead to incarceration and financial hardship.
Speed kills, literally. NHTSA states that in 2013, speeding was a contributing factor in 30% of all fatal crashes, and that 9,613 lives were lost in speeding related crashes.
The European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO) reports that for every mile per hour faster you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent. The truth is that speeding simply doesn’t save you that much time. Driving 10 miles per hour faster has been shown to only save you minutes while increasing your risk of having an accident by as much as 50%.
Death by Cell Phone and other Distractions
Texting and driving is a bad move. According to live science, cell phone use attributes to 2,600 vehicular accident deaths annually. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute states that texting doubles a driver’s reaction time. Eating, fiddling with electric devices, and interacting with your passengers are also major distractions.
Wearing a seatbelt may, quite simply, save your life. It will prevent you from being thrown around the inside of a crashing vehicle or worse, thrown through the windshield and onto the road. Even at low speeds, seat belt use is critical. A low speed crash can send a non-restrained person’s head smashing into the dashboard or the side window causing serious injury or even death.
In recent years, Fairfax County drivers have become intimately familiar with winter weather and the foul diving conditions that accompany it. Put simply, SLOW DOWN! Give yourself extra space between you and other drivers, even if you have a four wheel drive vehicle, snowy and icy roads are dangerous. The best way to avoid the dangers of the road in bad weather is to not be on the road at all. If at all possible, please stay home.
Defensive driving is a tool you can use to keep yourself safe on the roads. By applying basic safety tips such as not speeding or driving aggressively and maintaining a safe distance, you take an active role in avoiding vehicle crashes.
In Northern Virginia we are all familiar with our yearly vehicle inspections. However each of us, individually, must ensure that our vehicles are ready for the road every time we drive.
Checking your tire pressure is simple, and one of the most important things you can do to ensure a safe ride. Too much or too little pressure can cause reduced gas mileage, increased stopping time and more seriously, a blowout while driving.
There will always be a level of danger involved with getting behind the wheel, but YOU can mitigate that risk by being aware and driving smart.
Your safety is our priority!