HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – A state agency is reporting a “startling increase” in the number people killed in crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in the Hampton Roads region, according to preliminary data, despite overall crash fatalities decreasing.

Through Dec. 31, 28 people were killed as a result of crashes involving a commercial motor vehicle, compared to 16 at the same time in 2021, a 75% increase.

Total fatalities were down 13.2%, from 212 in 2021 to 184 last year. Pedestrian fatalities were up slightly, from 36 in 2021 to 38 last year.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

DMV noted that law enforcement officers completing crash reports often indicate “top driver actions” contributing to crashes, and in them, “the majority of those contributing actions were attributed to a driver of a car, rather than the driver of the commercial vehicle.”

“Drivers of cars and other passenger vehicles must remember to respect the size and limitations of large commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers,” said Acting DMV Commissioner Linda Ford in a statement. “These trucks simply can’t stop as quickly as a car can and they have big blindspots you should avoid. Never cut into a truck’s safe following distance and always make sure to signal your intentions early so the truck driver knows where you are headed next.”

DMV’s statistics incorporate its Portsmouth region, including the cities of Chesapeake, Emporia, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, and the counties of Accomack, Charles City, Gloucester, Greensville, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Northampton, Southampton, Surry and York.

In Virginia last year, 996 people died in crashes, a 3% increase compared to 2021.