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Virginia Leads the Way in Cutting Accidents Caused by Alcohol and Drugs

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As experienced Virginia accident injury attorneys, we regularly report on accidents caused by impaired drivers. As recently as July 23, 2011, a man was seriously injured after he wrecked his car in Newport News, VA. He was later charged with DUI.

But figures for drunk and drugged driving crashes in Virginia (VA) reveal an unexpected piece of good news. It appears that the state is leading the way in the region in cutting the number of crashes caused by impaired drivers thanks to a strategy that involves of “aggressive enforcement and education," the Washington Examiner reports.

What does this mean? The number of accidents linked to alcohol or drugs has steadily decreased over a five period in Virginia. In contrast the number of crashes caused by alcohol or drugs has stayed about the same in neighboring Maryland (MD). At the same time, the number of alcohol- and drug-related crashes increased in the District of Columbia.

“Statewide, there were 11,736 alcohol- or drug-related traffic crashes in 2006, according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office. That number has dropped every year since, falling to 8,221 in 2010,” noted the newspaper. The figures suggest frequent high profile safety campaigns and sobriety checkpoints by Virginia State Police are having an impact on highway safety.

But while impaired driving may be declining in the state, worrying spikes in road deaths have been seen in Virginia. For instance over the 2011 July 4 holiday, the number of road deaths in the state actually doubled compared to 2010. As VA personal injury attorneys who help the victims of road accidents, we are particularly alarmed that the message about alcohol and driving doesn’t seem to be getting across to many drivers. Thousands of drivers and their passengers are still dying needlessly on our roads, about 33,808 people every year according to 2009 figures according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But it’s reassuring to know these many crackdowns performed by the state with scant resources, appear to be having some effect. As well as campaigns on alcohol and drugs, Virginia State Police carry out regular seat belt and speed enforcement campaigns that extend to the interstates of cities such as Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Chesapeake.

DM

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.