Number of Virginia pedestrians hit and killed by cars reaches 10-year high

123 pedestrians died in 2018, including 13 in SW and Central Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia's roads can be a deadly place for the people walking alongside them.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor vehicles, 123 pedestrians were hit and killed by cars in 2018. That is the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the Commonwealth in a decade.

"When a pedestrian is involved, it's usually not a good situation," said 1st Sgt. Jerry Smith of Virginia State Police.

Thirteen pedestrians died in the Virginia DMV's Roanoke region, which is made up of the municipalities in Southwest and Central Virginia.

Marshall Herman, who co-chairs the state's Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety, says 2019's pedestrian death numbers are keeping the same pace. Herman worries the record might break again due to driving conditions at this time of the year.

"Daylight saving time just ended," Herman said. "Nighttime is coming sooner. The roads are getting darker. There's usually an increase of pedestrians being struck by vehicles at this time."

Smith says this is partially because of pedestrians who wear dark clothing at night.

"You don't realize that they're there until they're in your headlights and you're right on them," Smith said.

Smith added that distracted driving is also a major factor in pedestrian deaths on the roads.

"You need to watch the pedestrians and anticipate their moves," Smith said. "You're looking at a 3,000 to 4,000 pound piece of equipment that you have to stop at a moment's time. Nothing is more important than a life."

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