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Age, alcohol a factor for large number of pedestrian fatalities in Virginia

Crystal Graham
pedestrians in crosswalk
(© ambrozinio – stock.adobe.com)

So far this year, 89 pedestrians were killed in crashes in Virginia. While 25 percent of pedestrians killed in traffic nationwide are over the age of 60, Virginia is seeing a rise in pedestrian fatalities in their 30s.

One quarter of Virginia pedestrians killed in traffic crashes this year were in their 30s, up from 10 percent this time last year, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Of those fatal crashes nearly half involved a pedestrian who had been drinking alcohol.

Overall, crash fatalities involving a pedestrian who had been drinking are up 52 percent from this time last year.

Over the past four years, the majority of fatal pedestrian crashes occurred in urban areas, after dark, and when the pedestrian was crossing improperly or walking in the road.

As part of October’s Pedestrian Safety Month, the DMV urges drivers and pedestrians alike to stay alert, especially at night.

“If you go for a night out on the town, always plan a safe way home,” said DMV Commissioner Gerald Lackey, the Governor’s highway safety representative. “Call a licensed transportation service or designate a sober driver. Or, if you choose to walk, take the time to cross at an intersection, wait for the signal and make eye contact with the driver to make sure they plan to stop. Please walk safely and walk sober so you can arrive alive.”

Safety tips for walking smart

  • Be predictable, follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
  • Plan a route with safe crossings.
  • Avoid distractions, alcohol and drugs, and be alert.
  • Wear reflective clothing and carry a blinking light or flashlight at night.
  • Walk on sidewalks facing traffic. If there’s no sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far from traffic as possible.
  • Watch for cars backing up, especially in parking lots and driveways.
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections – where drivers expect pedestrians. While crossing, look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right, and make eye contact with turning drivers before proceeding when possible.

Concord man dead after pedestrian hit-and-run in Bedford County

Pedestrian from Myrtle Beach dead after accident in Franklin County Saturday

Virginia Beach pedestrian struck, killed by dump truck backing up in parking lot

Kaine, Warner secure $14.3M for Harrisonburg to make city safer for cyclists, pedestrians, drivers

Pedestrian struck, killed on Route 11 in Shenandoah County; driver charged

Augusta County: Pedestrian dies in hit-and-run on Parkersburg Turnpike

Richmond Police identify pedestrian struck, killed in accident on Richmond Highway

Richmond: Pedestrian dead after being struck by vehicle overnight

Pedestrian struck, killed on Interstate 81 in Virginia had been involved in another crash

Developing: Pedestrian struck on northbound Interstate 81 in Frederick County

Update: Charlottesville man charged in death of pedestrian in Ivy Road accident

Developing: One dead as vehicle strikes two pedestrians in Albemarle County

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.