Overall crash deaths went down in Virginia in 2018

Alcohol-related fatalities one of the category on the rise

ROANOKE, Va.- – For the first time since 2014, the number of overall people killed in car crashes in the commonwealth dropped last year.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles still has a long way to go until that number is zero. Teen driving deaths are up across the commonwealth. It's a statistic Mary King, program manager for Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety, calls concerning.

"So this is sort of like an uptick," said King. 

The final numbers from a new report from the DMV's Highway Safety Office shows Teen Driver-related deaths increased by 23 percent from 2017.

"We've had success with bringing those numbers down. So for 2018, it was disappointing to see that they increased by so much," said King.

YOVASO attributes the increase to bad decisions, mainly during summer months. 

"We had kids that would hood surfing, you know riding on the front of the vehicles. We have some kids that have been drinking alcohol and we're doing silly things in the car. They forgot to put on their seat belts," said King. 

They're in the middle of Arrive Alive, the safe driving campaign used as a teaching tool to keep young drivers safe. 

"But it also covers prom and graduation, and making sure you stay safe on those nights," said King. 

Distracted Driving went down almost 40 percent from the previous year. But there were some changes to the way law enforcement reports those incidents.

"Sometimes they were selecting other when maybe it would have been more accurate to select "Does not apply" or "unknown," said Brandy Brubaker, DMV spokesperson. 

Alcohol related deaths are the highest since 2010. While speed and pedestrian deaths are at their highest in 10 years according to the DMV.

There were 13 deaths involving people on bicycles in 2017, that number did not change last year. 


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