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Grayson recognized for no vehicle deaths in 2017

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By The Staff

By BRIAN FUNK and SHAINA STOCKTON
Staff

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office recently recognized Grayson County and Galax as two of 23 localities in the state that had zero traffic fatalities in 2017.
According the data, Grayson was one of five counties on the list with no crash-related deaths in 2017. Galax was one of 13 localities that had no crash-related deaths for two years in a row.
 “That no one died on the roadways in your community over the course of a year is a tremendous accomplishment, said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “Each of these communities dedicated countless hours to enforcement and outreach efforts to save lives.”
“This is a huge accomplishment for a rural community the size of Grayson County,” said Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan, in an email to the Declaration. “We have 10,882 licensed drivers, a four-lane divided highway with a speed limit of 60 miles-per-hour, and a number of primary roads that meander through mountainous terrain.”
Vaughan added that data also shows a drastic decrease in alcohol-related crashes in the county. DMV stats confirmed that in 2017, there were 16 crashes in Grayson that were attributed to alcohol use. Fifteen of these crashes resulted in injury.  
According to data Vaughan had available from 2006, alcohol-related crashes during that year totaled 27, four of which were fatal.
According to DMV, there were 192 crashes in Grayson County last year, with 80 reported injuries and no fatalities.
Galax reported 139 crashes last year, with 57 injuries and no deaths.
Carroll County had eight fatalities in 2017, due in part to the fact that Interstate 77 runs through the county. A total of 272 people were injured in 635 crashes last year.
Among those who died in Carroll last year was Deputy Curtis Bartlett, killed in the line of duty while responding to fellow officers’ calls for assistance with a chase.
DMV reported that crashes killed 843 people across the commonwealth in 2017.
Virginia participates in the national “Toward Zero Deaths” initiative, which brings together engineering, enforcement, education and emergency medical services to work toward a goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities, according to a news release from DMV.
“Next year, we want to add more communities to this list,” Holcomb said. “Help your city or county reduce traffic crashes by always wearing your seat belt, giving your full attention to the task of driving, never driving after drinking alcohol and by always following the rules of the road, including posted speed limits.”