Crash fatalities reach 14-year high on Virginia roadways

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, April 23, 2022

As crash fatalities reached a 14-year high on the Commonwealth’s roadways last year, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) urges Virginians to respond with action to reverse course in 2022.

“There are immediate, simple actions Virginians can take to save lives on our roadways,” said Acting DMV Commissioner Linda Ford, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “This is critically important as fatalities continue to increase this year. Vehicles and roadways are safer than they ever have been, yet we continue to lose lives to senseless crashes. Do your part to help. Slow down, buckle up, focus on the task of driving and never drive impaired. It truly is that simple.”

Last year, 968 people died in crashes on Virginia roadways — a 14.3% increase over 2020 and the highest number of annual fatalities since 2007 (1,026 fatalities). According to final crash statistics from DMV’s Highway Safety Office, fatalities increased across a number of categories, such as speed-related fatalities, commercial motor vehicle-involved fatalities and fatalities of motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, teen drivers and mature drivers. Detailed data are available in the chart below.

Virginia’s increase in overall crash fatalities mirrors a startling national trend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 31,000 people died in crashes in the first nine months of 2021, a 12% increase over the same time period in 2020 and the highest number of fatalities during the first nine months of any year since 2006. The full report on 2021 U.S. crash statistics will be available later this year.

DMV and its highway safety partners embrace data-driven strategies to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on Virginia roadways. These range from education and enforcement to grant funding, news media engagement and advertising.

“This trend is poised to continue unless Virginians take action,” Acting Commissioner Ford said. “Most people want to contribute to something greater; by driving safely, you can truly make a difference, not just in your life, but in the lives of everyone with whom you share the road.”

So far this year, 245 people have been killed in crashes on Virginia roadways, a 12% increase compared to this point in 2021.