Two major trends are increasing the number of cars on the nation’s – and Virginia’s – highways: people are not staying in their homes as much and the approach of summer. According to the Virginia Highway Patrol (VHP), people who have been confined to their homes for a long time are now feeling liberated again and are able to travel by automobile. Summer always brings an increase in the number of cars on the highways. Unfortunately, the sad fact is an increase in highway fatalities.
According to a local organization dedicated to improving highway safety, fatal motor vehicle crashes have increased across the country by about 10%, with a similar increase in the Shenandoah Valley. In 2021, Virginia experienced a 13.9% in estimated highway fatalities from the number reported in 2020.
The VHP also highlighted another reality: people appeared more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors, such as speeding, driving while impaired, and failure to use seat belts since they have been out of the house.
The VHP spokesperson also cited a need for stricter auto safety laws. First on the list was a primary enforcement seat belt law. Also needed are stricter impaired driving laws. Another priority is the installation of safety interlocks on new cars. Such devices send an audible alert if the driver is impaired or distracted.
Legal support may be very helpful
The Virginia legislature has not taken action on any of these proposals, but changes in the state’s traffic safety laws over the next few years appear to be a near certainty. Even under current Virginia traffic laws, anyone who is charged with breaking a traffic law will face serious penalties.
A consultation with an attorney experienced in defending against charges of traffic violations can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence, potential defense strategies, and, when appropriate, assistance in negotiating an acceptable plea agreement.