July 2, 2007
More than 9,000 people have died on a Virginia road in the past ten years and over 700,000 have been injured. That’s three and a half times the number of people that live in Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Orange, and Madison counties.
As you pack up your car and hit the road this holiday, V-DOT wants you to think about your safety. The department has released it's top five worst road hazards.
According to statewide statistics the number one cause of death is the most preventable, people who don't buckle up.
“I have a lot of people tell me they don't like to wear their seat belts, because it probably wouldn't save them anyway, but stats don't show that to be true,” said Senior Trooper Scott Miller, with the Virginia State Police.
Trooper Miller has been patrolling Virginia’s roads for the past nine years and said he sees more accidents caused in our area by driver inattention than anything else and according to V-DOT’s stats it’s the second leading cause of death.
“Now a days you got access to cell phones, satellite radio it a lot of things to take peoples eyes off the roadways,” Miller said.
However, even though your eyes may be on the road Miller said often times that's not enough to save your life.
“In order to stay safe you need to be a defensive driver,” Miller explained.
Meaning you need to be aware of all your surroundings at all times.
“A lot of people get what's called tunnel vision and they only concentrate on what's in front of them. They don't always pay attention to what's to their left or to their right,” said Miller.
State officials are aware of the high number of roadway deaths and are working to lower that number. They hope through education, enforcement, engineering and emergency response action they can decrease the number of fatalities by 100 and injuries by 4,000 in coming years.
Rounding out the top five hazards on the roads are speeding, alcohol and inexperienced drivers.