PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Traffic and pedestrian fatalities in Prince William County are the highest in more than a decade, according to data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
In 2021, of the 5,088 crashes in the county, 32 were fatal, and it’s the highest number of deaths since at least 2010. Seven of the deaths involved pedestrians, which is the highest since 2012.
Prince William County Police officials told FOX 5 speeding is the reason behind most of the fatal crashes.
"Speed reduces that amount of time that you have to properly react and properly stop the vehicle and take those evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision," Sgt. Jonathan Perok, Public Information Officer for Prince William County police said. "Speeding has always been a problem and unfortunately that’s going to take a conscious effort on the part of drivers."
Sgt. Perok said there’s only so much law enforcement can do to discourage speeding, like write tickets, but he says it will take more than that to reduce the number of crashes.
Pete Candland, who is on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, told FOX 5 two of the seven pedestrian deaths from 2021 happened in the Gainesville District and both cases involved children.
"That’s a troubling sign and one we definitely take seriously here in Prince William County," he says.
Candland says currently he and other officials are working to identify the problem areas in the county, in addition to working out the details of a bond referendum aimed at improving pedestrian safety that he proposed this year.
Candland says some of the ideas they have for the bond referendum include investing in a pedestrian bridge and installing roundabouts, elevated crosswalks and red-light cameras.
He adds they also want input from community members but says they will need help from Richmond too.
"A lot of these pedestrian issues don’t rise to the level of being able to get those significant amounts of VDOT funding," Candland said. "My hope is that the Youngkin administration will look at ways we can invest more money as a locality in pedestrian safety."
If the bond referendum passes through the board of supervisors, it will be brought to voters next summer.