VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A new traffic report shows Hampton Roads crash rate is higher than other metro areas in Virginia, with the crash fatality rate growing over the last decade.

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization cites the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, which tallied more than 26,000 crashes in Hampton Roads in 2021, making Hampton Roads’ crash rate higher than Northern Virginia, Richmond and Roanoke. Among those crashes, more than 16,000 people were injured and 179 people died.

“Hampton Roads is such a tourist destination, and we have all these people that aren’t used to driving on these roads everyday, all of these people with different driving styles driving on the road together, so that could potentially be a contributing factor,” said AAA Tidewater Public Relations and Community Outreach Specialist Ryan Adcock.

Adcock told WAVY excessive speed is also big issue.

10 On Your Side did the math and found that in 2021, speed was involved in 62% of all fatal crashes in Virginia Beach, 82% in Hampton, 43% in Norfolk, and 31% in Newport News.

Adcock also notes we’re now entering the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. That’s the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when more teens are out of school and on the road.

His advice to protect yourself is to eliminate distractions while driving by:

  • Putting your phone on do not disturb or throwing it in the trunk
  • Not eating behind the wheel
  • Giving others grace and space

“You can tell that by, if the car in front of you (is) passing whatever landmark and then you start counting … (it) should be four to eight seconds until you pass whatever landmark they passed.”

Also, he said, don’t be in a rush. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going.