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AAA: Single-Vehicle Crashes Are Epidemic

October 14, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Of the 7,945 people who died in vehicle accidents in the past five years in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, 58.9 percent of them were in single-vehicle crashes, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. 

"We are seeing a troubling trend -- an epidemic of single-vehicle crashes...on area roads," John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, told the Washington Post. "In addition to operator error and unforgiving roads, certain risk factors -- such as driving at an excessive rate of speed, driving at night, driving under the influence, and having a track record of prior traffic convictions and crashes -- are the leading common denominators." 

For his research, Townsend reviewed National Highway Traffic Administration statistics on fatal crashes between 2004 and 2008. He concluded that in 2008, nearly 60 percent of the 1,449 people killed in crashes in the three jurisdictions died in single-vehicle crashes. They accounted for nearly 64 percent of Virginia road fatalities, 62 percent of the District's and 53 percent of those in Maryland. 

This week, another single-vehicle fatal crash made headlines when U.S. soccer player Charlie Davies was involved in an early-morning accident on the George Washington Parkway near Washington, D.C. A woman was killed in the accident, which tore the vehicle in two. Davies, who had just helped his U.S. soccer team qualify for the 2010 World Cup on Saturday, was rushed to Washington Hospital Center with injuries.

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Dick Malcolm is the fleet administrator for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. Malcolm manages more than 11,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.

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