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NSC Grade for Virginia Road Safety: D

The National Safety Council recently published its annual report and Virginia receive an overall grade of “D” for safety.

The report is published each year and examines how effectively each state is addressing road safety, home and community safety, and workplace safety and if enough measures are being taken to help eliminate preventable deaths from factors such as falls, distracted driving, or prescription painkillers. According to the NSC, there are more than 140,000 people killed each year in preventable accidents, and another 40 million injured.

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Virginia’s Score

In addition to receiving a D in its overall score, the state also received a D in how its effectiveness for addressing road safety, coming in at number 38 out of all 50 states. In several different categories, the state was addressing some serious issues, but failing to address others:

Drunk Driving: Virginia does have sobriety checkpoints requires the use of ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers. But the state fails to implement a policy that suspends the license of any driver who refuses to take a breathalyzer. The state also does not have an open container ban for both drivers and passengers.

Distracted Driving: Although the state does have texting bans for all drivers, it fails when it comes to enacting laws which would ban all handheld devices for teen drivers.

Speeding: The state scored points for red light traffic use and also for lowered speed limits in school zones, however it loses points for failing to implement a 55-m.p.h. speed limit on urban highways.

Seat Belts: Virginia is completely off-track when it comes to seat belt requirements. There is not a law that requires that all occupants must be belted at all times and what laws Virginia does have in place are secondary ones. The state also does not require seat belts in school buses.

Child Passengers: Virginia fails completely in its child passenger requirements. The state does not require rear-seat facing seats until the child is 2-years-old, does not require booster seats or child restraints for children up to 8-years-old, does not have a child left in a hot vehicle law, and does not have a Good Samaritan protecting young children law in place.

Teen Drivers: Although the state does have some policies partially in place, the report concludes Virginia can do more when it comes to teen driver safety and addressing setting limits on night driving for teens. The state does fail at addressing young passenger restrictions for teen drivers.

Senior Drivers: Virginia has done a good job at implementing a state medical review board for older drivers and it also requires in-person license renewal.

Vulnerable Drivers: The state scores high marks for requiring helmets for motorcycle riders, but falls short in the other two categories: No helmet requirements for bicycle riders and Virginia does not have a law that requires vehicles to stop for pedestrians in an uncontrolled roadway.

Have You Been Injured in a Crash?

If you have sustained injuries in a traffic accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver, contact a skilled Virginia car accident attorney to discuss what legal options you may have against that driver for collecting financial compensation for those injuries.

Eric K. Washburn
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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