AAA releases new statistics on deadly crashes in Virginia as they warn drivers on New Year’s Eve

Posted at 8:57 PM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 23:03:50-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - On New Year's Eve, too many people get behind the wheel to drive after a night of partying.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) just released alarming new information about deadly preventable accidents in its 2018 Safety Review report.

“As you can imagine, we have a lot of people drinking and driving,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs in the Tidewater area.

The organization reported that almost 800 people died in traffic accidents in Virginia in 2018.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 94 percent of car crashes are caused by human error and result in people getting hurt or killed.

AAA stressed that on New Year’s Eve the biggest problems are alcohol and distracted driving.

Related: Friends remember man killed on New Year's Eve 2017 with community plea

“Our goal is to make sure that everyone gets home safely,” said Blumling.

She said getting behind the wheel after a night of drinking might cost more than you realize.

“Even a first-offense DUI could cost as much as $10,000,” said Blumling.

Experts said court fines, lawyer costs and getting an interlock on your car aren’t cheap.

They said this year distracted driving caused almost 13,000 people to be injured and claimed the lives of 131 people in Virginia. Experts said distracted drivers are one of the biggest threats on the road. They said the goal is to make texting while driving just as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.

Related: Increased DUI patrols in Newport News help prevent drunk driving 

“You need to be very aware. It’s not a time to be distracted. You need to put the phone down and make sure your hands are on the wheel and your eyes on the road,” said Blumling.

Experts said many of the deadly crashes could have been avoided by simply increasing driver’s attention to the task at hand.