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Pedestrian Fatalities A Rising Problem in Virginia

texting while driving by Jason Weaver
Photo copyright Jason Weaver/http://www.flickr.com/photos/indyplanets/

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (January 13, 2021) –  More than 900 pedestrians were killed in traffic- related crashes in the Commonwealth between the period of 2009-2018, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This is a 59% increase in pedestrian fatalities over ten years. With the various types of transportation available, walking is the oldest forms of traveling to and from a destination. Yet, being a pedestrian has become a high-risk endeavor.

In 2019, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported that 1,896 pedestrians were involved in crashes ended in injury and 126 were killed. Nationally, pedestrian fatalities increased from 4,109 in 2009 to 6,283 in 2018 which is a 55% increase in deaths.

“If you perform a quick search of the news over the past six weeks, you can easily find 8 instances of crashes involving pedestrians in Hampton Roads. People are dying, or being seriously injured crossing the street,” said Holly Dalby, director of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia.

Contributing Factors:

Speeding

In the AAA Foundation’s research, nearly two-thirds of all pedestrian fatalities occur on the roads with speed limits of 40 miles per hour or higher.

Poor Lighting

Most pedestrian fatalities occur in darkness. Three out of four pedestrians killed on U.S. roads in 2018 were struck in darkness.

Crossing Mid-Street

Always use the crosswalks. If crosswalks are not present, cross at the intersection. Pedestrians crossing the street at non-intersection locations without a crosswalk rose 70% over the decade.

Alcohol

Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption-either the driver, the pedestrian or both.

Distraction

“Distracted walking and distracted driving is common and a very risky practice. It keeps your attention away from your surroundings and slows your reaction time.” Dalby explained. “It can take up to 27 seconds for your mind to switch back to driving after texting, dialing or even changing the radio station. It takes only two seconds to miss that lifesaving moment.” 

Safety Tips for Pedestrians:

  • Make sure you’re visible to drivers at all times and make eye contact with them whenever possible.
  • Wear lightly colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day.
  • Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
  • Stay alert and avoid distractions. Put your phone down. Don’t text and walk.
  • Know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.
  • Never assume a driver will give you the right of way.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible.

Safety Tips for Drivers:

  • Look out for pedestrians at all times.
  • Follow the posted speed limits, especially in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • Overall visibility is limited in bad weather conditions and poorly lit areas. Use extra caution in these circumstances.
  • Be mindful of pedestrians when pulling into and out of driveways.
  • Put your phone down. Don’t Drive Intexicated.   

 As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 350,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia.

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Tidewater Automobile Association of Virginia, Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Tidewater Virginia is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the Tidewater Virginia region (All Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg; Virginia's Eastern Shore; as well as the following counties: Greensville, Surry, Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Richmond County, Southampton, Sussex, Mecklenburg, James City County, York, Lunenburg, Essex, King & Queen, Mathews, Northumberland, and Westmoreland).