Virginia has seen an increase in the percentage of crashes involving speed along with not wearing seat belts, and of deaths resulting from those crashes during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.

The State’s Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has examined the impact of the COVID-19 on traffic volumes in the area.

“Fewer vehicles on the road during the COVID-19 crisis have contributed to a 45 percent decrease in all crashes,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine.

“But it is of great concern to see that the number of fatalities involving both speed and unrestrained travelers has increased by 78 percent during this time period compared to 2019.  We are urging all motorists to drive the posted speed limit and wear seat belts.”

According to preliminary data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), from March 13-May 21, 2020, speed-related fatalities made up about 50 percent of the overall fatalities, which is greater than in the same time frame in 2019 (42 percent).

Of the 58 speed-related fatalities recorded during this period, 41 were not wearing seat belts (70 percent).  Additionally, unrestrained fatalities for the calendar year through May 21 increased approximately 15.4 percent compared to 2019 (120 deaths in 2020 vs 104 in 2019).