2021 Annual Report
Data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles shows that 967 deaths occurred on Virginia’s roadways in 2021, an increase of about 15% from the previous year. In addition to these fatalities, 2021 statistics show that 161 people were injured EVERY DAY in the Commonwealth from traffic crashes. These are devastating numbers that certainly support the Center for Disease Control finding that motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for people aged 5-19 years of age.
There are various causes for motor vehicle crashes and most of them are preventable. Distractions such as talking or texting on cell phones, reading, or reaching for an object are attributed to 80% of all crashes and 65% of all near-crashes recently studied by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. DRIVE SMART Virginia has been a pioneer in the fight against distracted driving. April of 2021 marked Virginia’s 15th annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month. DRIVE SMART reached out to employers, associations and the general public statewide to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an effort to reduce the number of crashes attributed to distracting behaviors.
In addition to distractions, age can also play a factor in motor vehicle crashes. Young and inexperienced drivers are at a high risk for being involved in crashes. Sadly, 98 people died in crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 on Virginia’s roadways in 2021. DRIVE SMART Virginia has been traveling around Virginia with a texting and driving simulator and other hands-on educational activities for high school students. Normally, DRIVE SMART would visit high schools with a distracted driving simulator and interactive educational programming. However, due to COVID-19, we hosted virtual high school event with guest speakers and launched an online teacher portal. This portal has valuable resources that teachers and community leaders can use to educate about traffic safety.
Another cause of car crashes involves pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2021, 146 (130 pedestrians, 16 bicyclists) people died walking or cycling on Virginia roadways. In addition, 618 cyclists and 1,686 pedestrians were injured, demonstrating that these crashes are problematic in Virginia. DRIVE SMART VIRGINIA continued our efforts to help improve understanding and create awareness of ways to reduce these roadway injuries and fatalities by holding an annual Bicycle and Pedestrian Awareness month in September. During this month, companies, organizations, and individuals were asked to use our online toolkit of social media posts, newsletter articles, email blasts, posters, and brochures in to spread the word about sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians.
One of the easiest ways to prevent injuries and fatalities involving a motor vehicle is using a seatbelt. Virginia DMV statistics show death rates are 8 times higher when an occupant is not buckled or restrained. DRIVE SMART is involved in the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, providing materials and outreach to Virginia’s drivers related to buckling up. Our “Love Clicks” message reminds drivers to buckle up for their loved ones.
Another preventable and tragic cause of traffic crashes and fatalities is impaired driving. For the sixth year, DRIVE SMART Virginia brought the Who’s Your Driver program to Virginia racing fans. This program targets racing fans and asks them to pledge to have a designated driver if they are going to drink. Who’s Your Driver included mostly digital campaigns at Virginia race tracks due to COVID-19 in 2021.
In 2021, DRIVE SMART Virginia continued to deliver the What’s Your Gameplan program to Virginia Tech football fans. Similar to the Who’s Your Driver program, What’s Your Gameplan asks fans to have a sober driver and buckle up. In addition to Virginia Tech, The What’s Your Gameplan message also partnered with Norfolk State University and Virginia Union University. The program was delivered mainly through digital means due to COVID-19.
FINANCIAL SNAPSHOT 2020 (2021 still pending):
Total Revenue: $568,830
Program Expenses: $547,800
Administrative Expenses: $ 117,716
Total Expenses: $666,596
Ending net assets: $394,785