In 2007, the number of people who died on Virginia roads surpassed 1,000 for the first time in nearly two decades.
That grim toll marked a turning point. Traffic fatalities statewide have exceeded 800 only one year since.
Safety advocates point to a multitude of changes and trends in explaining the drop. Among them: stricter licensing for young drivers, anti-DUI laws, educational and law enforcement campaigns, increased seat belt use, safer roads and better vehicles.