RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Officials from the DMV say crash fatalities reached a 14-year high on the Commonwealth’s roadways last year.

In 2021, 968 people died in crashes on Virginia roadways — a 14.3% increase over 2020 and the highest number of annual fatalities since 2007 (1,026 fatalities).

“There are immediate, simple actions Virginians can take to save lives on our roadways,” said Acting DMV Commissioner Linda Ford urging motorists to do their part to help reverse the course.

“Slow down, buckle up, focus on the task of driving and never drive impaired. It truly is that simple.”

Virginia’s increase in overall crash fatalities is a startling reflection of statistics across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 31,000 people died in crashes in the first nine months of 2021, a 12% increase over the same time period in 2020 and the highest number of fatalities during the first nine months of any year since 2006. The full report on 2021 U.S. crash statistics will be available later this year.

So far in 2022, 245 people have been killed in crashes on Virginia roadways, a 12% increase compared to this point last year.