The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Local crash stats buck nationwide spike in fatalities
BY SCOTT SHENK
There was a big bump in deadly crashes nationwide during the first half of the year, the most drastic spike since federal authorities started keeping such statistics in 1975.
Overall in the Fredericksburg region, though, the numbers tell a different story—crashes, injuries and deaths are all down so far this year, following the downward national trend in recent years.
Even with the overall drop locally, two counties have had a bad year so far. Locally, between Jan. 1 and Sept. 27 this year, there were spikes in traffic-related deaths in Stafford and Culpeper, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Traffic deaths have more than doubled in Stafford—from six during the same period last year to 14 so far in 2012. In Culpeper, the number jumped from one in 2011 to nine so far this year.
The numbers have dropped in Fauquier (from 15 to five) and Spotsylvania (13 to nine). Overall in the region, crashes have dropped by more than 500 and injuries are down more than 600 this year. The 52 traffic deaths are down slightly from 56 a year ago.
In Virginia, the number of roadway deaths is holding pat. So far 562 people have died in state crashes; last year during the same period 563 had died on Virginia roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released preliminary statistics this month, covering January through June, and its findings showed a 9 percent increase in roadway deaths compared to 2011. From January through June this year, 16,290 died on U.S. roads; during the same time frame a year earlier, 14,950 died.
The NHTSA noted that the figures are still historically low. The agency reported that 2011 marked a 60-year low for U.S. roadway deaths.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436