Strategic Highway Safety Plan - Arrive Alive

Virginia’s 2022-2026 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) is a data-driven, performance-based document aimed at ushering a Safe System approach in support of the Commonwealth’s goal that everyone should arrive at their destination safely.

As the nation emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that despite a drop in people traveling, traffic-related deaths and serious injuries have increased. Quite simply, the numbers are headed in the wrong direction. For the SHSP crash analysis period, accounting for lower traffic volumes due to the pandemic, the fatality rate increased 23 percent from 2019 to 2020. The number of fatalities in Virginia have continued to increase since 2014—with 847 people killed in 2020 alone—while fatalities nationwide decreased each year from 2016 to 2019 before increasing in 2020, an increase of 29 percent. Since 2020, fatalities have continued to increase to 1005 in 2022. Motor vehicle crashes are a serious public health problem that takes substantial resources to respond and provide treatment or hospitalization. According to data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), motor vehicle crashes are one of the top four leading causes of death from 2015 to 2019 for Virginians between the ages of 5 and 34.

The guiding principles underpinning the plan are the six principles of the Safe System approach, founded on the concept that all humans make mistakes and that human bodies have limits in tolerating crash impacts.

Safety culture is the foundation of a Safe System. Safety culture is the shared values, actions, and behaviors that demonstrate a commitment to safety over competing goals and demands. To effectively implement a Safe System, a culture must be in place that instills the expectation that users of the road system will be protected and that the responsibility for a safe transportation system is shared among the 4Es of highway safety—education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency response and medical services — as well as every user.

Arrive Alive Virginia covers both behavioral (Safe Road Users) and infrastructure (Safe Vehicles, Safe Roads, Safe Speeds, and Post-Crash Care) Safe System elements through emphasis areas. Virginia identified the following 13 emphasis areas as the most pressing challenges to reaching zero deaths on all public roads:

flow chart

Recognizing these troubling trends and the impact on Virginians and our economy, this fifth edition of the Arrive Alive SHSP is strongly action focused. Each emphasis area contains about 10 key actions that state and local partners can take to influence reductions in severe crashes.

Virginia also needs your help to make this vision a reality. To learn more about how you can help towards Zero Deaths and Serious Injuries on all public roads, please click on the cover page link below. Read the plan elements and emphasis areas with the “What Can You Do to Support the SHSP” chapter to engage and implement a safe highway system for all of the Commonwealth.

 Leadership and Partners

The work of the plan is impossible without the help of our leaders and partners:


VDOT Safety Resources


Additional Safety Resources


For more information, please contact:

Stephen Read, P.E.
HSIP Planning Manager


Page last modified: May 19, 2023