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Road Deaths Spike in Roanoke County, VA

At a time when fatal crashes are declining across Virginia, law enforcement officers are struggling to work out why fatalities are spiking in one location. Eleven people have died in fatal accidents on the highways of Roanoke County during 2011, the Roanoke Times reports. That's up more than 100 percent over the total for 2010, when the death toll was four.

The increase in deaths has left police officers puzzled, according to the newspaper, which interviewed Roanoke County police Sgt. Tim Wyatt. 
"There was no common thread," he said. "They were sporadic, and the scenarios were different." 

The police officer noted that disproportionately large numbers of teenagers were involved in fatal accidents back in 2004. In 2003, 10 teenagers died in wrecks leading police officers to target high school physics and math classes to explain how they work out speeds in fatal crash reconstructions.

As experienced Virginia accident injury attorneys we have noted on numerous occasions how speed is linked to deaths on the roads of the Commonwealth. We have also reported on how teenagers appear to be at particular risk. In 2010 a Virginia Beach police officer received an award for the work she carried out at schools teaching teenagers about how to develop safe driving skills

While Virginia's roads are getting safer, according to statistics, there is no room for complacency. Our attorneys recently noted how the number of deaths on Virginia's roads more than doubled over the July 4 weekend compared to the same period in 2010. There were 13 deaths this year compared to six in 2010.

Although the spike in deaths in Roanoke County appears to be inexplicable, there are often common factors. I welcome the efforts of local police officers to find out the reasons behind this worrying trend. My guess is the nature of the roadways, including major interstate highways like I-81, encourage high speeds which mixed with bad weather and increased tractor-trailer traffic leads to spikes in crashes.


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