Few local traffic deaths as state numbers decline

Published 10:43 am Saturday, September 18, 2010

RICHMOND—The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday that traffic deaths statewide have posted a slight decline so far this year, and there were few fatalities in Western Tidewater.

According to the DMV, there have been seven traffic deaths this year in Isle of Wight County from Jan. 1 through Sept. 16. At the same time there were three deaths in Southampton County and none in Franklin.

One year ago, there was one death in Isle of Wight, six in Southampton and none in Franklin during the same time period. The total number of deaths in 2009 was seven in Southampton, six in Isle of Wight and none in Franklin. Statewide, there were 756 in 2009.

The numbers were similar in 2008, with five deaths in Isle of Wight, two in Southampton and none in Franklin by Sept. 16 of that year. The year-end totals were nine for Isle of Wight, four for Southampton and none for Franklin. Meanwhile, there were 821 deaths statewide in 2008.

DMV data also showed that there were 481 road deaths from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31 this year. During the same timeframe in 2009, there were 490 deaths, meaning the number of deaths fell 1.84 percent.

Of the 481 deaths recorded so far this year, most of them, 159, occurred along the state’s primary highways. The fewest number of deaths, 62, occurred on interstate highways.

The DMV added that there were 756 traffic fatalities in Virginia last year, making it the lowest number recorded in one year since the state started keeping track of traffic deaths in 1966. The 2009 total is an almost 27-percent decrease from the 1,026 fatalities recorded in 2007, the highest number recorded.