For Immediate Release: February 21, 2023
Alexandria, VA: Fairfax Families for Safe Streets (Ffx FSS), the leading pedestrian safety advocacy organization in Fairfax and with affiliated FSS chapters in Alexandria and Arlington (collectively NoVA FSS) has released the The Fairfax County Safe Streets Report – 2022.
The report brings awareness to the long-standing and increasing risks to the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users in Fairfax County. There were a record 32 pedestrian crash fatalities during 2022, and an additional 53 serious pedestrian injuries from crashes. The number of fatalities in 2022 was significantly higher than recent years and higher than the long-term average.
VDOT controls the vast majority of Fairfax County’s roads and thus with such authority comes accountability. In 2023 we hope VDOT becomes more responsive to community concerns about vulnerable road users’ safety at specific dangerous locations and implements more creative, near term street safety measures.
The report also highlights the lack of consequences in Virginia’s criminal code when drivers who crash into and kill pedestrians (many of whom had the legal right of way in a crosswalk) receive de minimis financial fines, no points and rarely jail time of any sort.
Responses submitted to Ffx FSS in 2022 through the crowdsourced Near Miss incidents and Dangerous Location reports highlight poor driver behavior. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents reporting incidents in Fairfax County cited Failure to Yield as a driver behavior factor. Respondents also reported Speeding as a driver behavior factor in thirty-two percent of 2022 responses. A review of respondent comments indicates that many drivers are either unaware of Virginia’s traffic laws or are ignoring them. Enforcement of traffic laws has significant room for improvement. One way is to provide greater technology and human resources to our enforcement agencies.
Each pedestrian fatality and serious injury is preventable. Our local and state elected leaders along with transportation officials need to demonstrate a greater level of commitment and urgency in implementing comprehensive and effective solutions. Making greater investment today will save lives tomorrow.
About NoVA FSS: Northern Virginia Families for Safe Streets’ goal is to bring communities together to create streets that are safe for people of all ages, abilities, and modes of travel by sharing impact stories to increase public awareness and understanding, educating people driving, walking, and biking on safe behavior, educating public policymakers, and advocating for measures to make our streets safer. NoVA FSS has chapters in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax counties.