DMV: "Startling Increase" in Hampton Roads Fatal Truck Accidents

A recent study released by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles refers to the number of people killed in truck accidents in the Hampton Roads region last year as a “startling increase.”

According to the data, there were 28 people killed in crashes involving truck accidents in 2022 – a 75 percent increase over the number of deaths in 2021. This is despite an overall decrease (13 percent) in the number of traffic deaths.

The DMV report includes data from the cities of Chesapeake, Emporia, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg, and the counties of Accomack, Charles City, Gloucester, Greensville, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Northampton, Southampton, Surry, and York.

Overall, there was a 3 percent increase in the number of people killed in traffic accidents throughout the state last year. The DMV reports 996 people were killed.

Sharing the Road with Commercial Vehicles

In response to the new report, the president of the Virginia Trucking Association, Dale Bennett, issued a statement reminding all drivers to give large commercial vehicles the space they need on the road. Bennett pointed out that when there is a space between a truck and a vehicle, that is the safety cushion a truck driver needs in the event of needing to stop. When another vehicle cuts into that space, it puts everyone at serious risk because it hampers the ability of the truck driver to stop. Bennett also reminded drivers to watch for the truck blind spots.

Virginia State Police have also been out in force, cracking down on motorists. In November, the VSP led Operation Lane Shift, resulting in almost 400 citations of both commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles for making unsafe lane changes, speeding, following too close, and reckless driving.

Who Is Liable?

Truck accidents can be more complex than car accidents because there is often more than one party that may be liable. A Virginia truck accident attorney will evaluate a victim’s case and determine who legal action should be taken against. The following are the most common:

Truck driver – There are many negligent or reckless behaviors that truck drivers engage in that cause accidents, including speeding, distracted driving activities, fatigued driving, violating traffic rules, and driving under the influence.

The trucking company – The truck company the driver works for is also usually named in truck accident claims where the driver is at fault. This is under the vicarious liability doctrine. They may also have failed to maintain the vehicle and that led to the crash.

Third-party maintenance company – Truck companies often employ third-party maintenance companies to conduct routine maintenance and inspections of their vehicles. If an accident happened because a third-party maintenance company was negligent in its duties, it could share some percentage of liability.

Truck manufacturers – In some accidents, a mechanical defect contributes to a truck accident. For example, if the brakes stop working or the tow hitch fails due to a faulty or defective part, then the manufacturer could be liable for the ensuing accident.

Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Hampton, VA truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families, including a $2.4 million wrongful death settlement for one family whose loved one was killed when a truck driver hit the back of his vehicle while attempting to make a lane change at a high rate of speed.