Virginia’s tragic motor vehicle accidents in 2021 accounted for the state’s highest number of fatalities since 2007. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles noted that fatal car crashes increased by about 14% between 2020 and 2021.
As reported by WUSA9.com, investigators found that a significant number of accidents resulted from drivers exceeding speed limits and failing to wear their seat belts. Owing to the lesser number of cars on the roads during the pandemic stay-at-home orders, motorists may have considered it safe to drive at higher speeds.
How speed causes dangerous accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding contributes to about one-third of the reported traffic-related deaths. Motorists face higher chances of losing control of their vehicles when they drive over the posted speed limits.
Inclement weather, crumbling roads and poor lighting also increase accident risks. Higher speeds, however, tend to cause more crashes because drivers need additional time to stop their cars. When approaching intersections or construction zones, for example, failing to stop in time can lead to fatal collisions with pedestrians or construction workers.
How seat belts may help prevent fatalities and serious injuries
As reported by Bankrate.com, the NHTSA found that 47% of individuals killed in nationwide car crashes during 2019 were not wearing seat belts. The numbers reported for Virginia’s 2019 motor vehicle fatalities, however, revealed that 70% of individuals killed in crashes did not use their seat belts.
Drivers and passengers in the front seat who wear seat belts may decrease their risk of dying in a crash by 45%. Safety belts could reduce the risk of serious injuries by half. Safety restraints could also prevent passenger ejection during impact. Seat belts may provide the additional benefit of protecting vehicle occupants from the effects of airbags when they go off.