Speed-Related Crashes Rose in Virginia in 2018

Stephen M. Smith
Last Updated:
November 27, 2019

Excess speed is causing more crashes in Virginia, according to the latest update on wrecks in the state. A new report links drivers traveling too fast to 41 percent of all road deaths in the Commonwealth last year.

A recently-released report by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles revealed police attended 25,892 speed-related crashes in 2018, an 8.1 percent increase on the 2017 figure.

The Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report for 2018, revealed the number of deaths on the state’s highways fell slightly last year. However, more people were injured than in 2017. The report found 819 people lost their lives in Virginia in 2018. An additional 66,523 people sustained injuries in wrecks.

The deaths figure represents a 2.9 percent fall compared to 2017. However, the overall number of injuries rose by 1.9 percent. A crash occurs every four minutes in Virginia and an average of two people lose their lives every day. The stats found 182 people are hurt in car, truck, and motorcycle wrecks every day in the Commonwealth.

Excess speed was directly linked to 4,900 crashes, or 2 percent of all wrecks last year. However, 13,346 people were injured as a result of speeding, a 3.2 percent rise on 2017.

Accidents at high speed are more likely to be deadly, as the figures demonstrate. The report found 339 deaths were caused by speeding drivers in 2018, a 6.6 percent rise over 2017. Speed was the biggest cause of road deaths in 2018. The report linked 278 deaths to alcohol, a 12.1 percent increase over 2017.

The report was better news for motorcyclists. Fewer riders died in 2018 after a spike in 2017. Fewer teen drivers lost their lives.

The big rise in speed-related crashes was seen in urban areas as opposed to the countryside. The 147 speed-related deaths in cities like Newport News, Hampton, and Norfolk represented a 36 percent increase on the previous year. Speed-related deaths in rural areas fell year-on-year.

More than 331,000 Virginia motorists received convictions for excess speed, a 5 percent rise on 2017. About two-thirds of those arrested for speeding were male and a third were female.

Crashes in which drivers were traveling too fast led to the deaths of 251 drivers, 63 passengers, and 25 pedestrians. More than half of the deadly wrecks were single vehicle accidents. The age group most likely to be involved in speed-related crashes is 21 to 25-year-olds.

The figures reveal one of the most deadly habits of drivers is following too closely at a high speed. This gives drivers little opportunity to take evasive action if the vehicle in front suddenly slows down.

Why Speed-Related Crashed in Virginia Are So Deadly

The proportion of deadly wrecks caused by speeding in Virginia was higher than the national average in 2018.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration speeding kills about 10,000 people on the roads of America every year. This represents about 26 percent of all deaths.

It’s not just about going to fast. Speeding causes drivers to lose control of their vehicles, particularly on curves. It reduces the effectiveness of protective equipment in cars and it exacerbates the force of an impact during an accident, making injuries worse. NHTSA points out speeding is aggressive driving.

As roads become increasingly congested, drivers face greater delays and more pressure to get where they are going on time. They often rush and put their foot on the gas. No appointment is worth the life of a driver, a passenger, another motorist, or a pedestrian.

If you or a family member has been hit and hurt by a speeding driver, please call the Smith Law Center today at (757) 244-7000. We have won billions of dollars for our injured clients.

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