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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam has proclaimed April as Highway Safety Month in the Commonwealth and is urging all Virginians to help prevent injuries and fatalities on Virginia’s roadways. This Highway Safety Month, Governor Northam is directing his Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety to highlight the importance of seat belt use in reducing the number of unrestrained crashes and saving lives.
“Whether you are crossing the street, on a bike, or behind the wheel, we all have a responsibility to make conscious decisions that will keep our highways safe and prevent injuries and fatalities,” said Governor Northam. “Dangerous behaviors like distracted driving, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt and puts you and others at serious risk. Highway Safety Month serves an important opportunity to recommit to our shared goal of achieving zero deaths on Virginia’s roadways.”
In 2020, even with a significant decline in traffic volume because of the pandemic, 343 people who were not wearing their seat belts were killed in crashes on Virginia roadways—a 13 percent increase compared to 304 fatalities in 2019.
Led by the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety is composed of representatives from the Virginia Departments of Motor Vehicles, Health, Education, Transportation, and State Police and is charged with reducing serious injuries and fatalities on Virginia’s roadways and driving change in the Commonwealth’s highway safety culture.
“Wearing a seat belt helps prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected from a vehicle during a crash and can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Despite the best efforts of law enforcement and highway safety advocates, it is estimated that more than 1.2 million Virginians choose not to buckle up. We will continue to spread this life-saving message about the importance of seat belts.”
“Virginia’s public safety professionals speak to many families across the Commonwealth every year about the deadly impact of not wearing a seat belt,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “These incidents and others like it could have been prevented by drivers and passengers making the right choice to buckle up. Help us save lives on our roadways by always wearing your seat belt and making sure everyone in your vehicle is properly secured.”
To stay up to date during Virginia Highway Safety Month, follow the hashtag #VAHwySafety on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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