RICHMOND – Traveling to spend time with family is a holiday tradition, and as millions hit the road this Thanksgiving, Virginia State Police urges motorists to drive to save lives so everyone arrives safely for the celebration.
Within the past two weeks, traffic crashes in Virginia have claimed the lives of 35 drivers and passengers, and nine pedestrians. From Jan. 1, 2017, to Nov. 16, 2017, preliminary reports indicate traffic crashes statewide have resulted in 710 deaths; compared to 640 deaths during the same timeframe in 2016.
“Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We’ve seen an 11 percent increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”
To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. As a participating agency, state police will increase its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the Commonwealth beginning Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through midnight, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017.
During last year’s Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:
- Cited 9,235 speeders
- Cited 2,928 reckless drivers
- Arrested 132 drunken drivers
- Cited 824 safety belt violations & 286 child restraint violations
- Investigated 1,163 traffic crashes, in which eight were fatal
With additional troopers and other law enforcement working on Virginia’s highways this holiday weekend, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. A life-saving law intended to protect public safety responders and others who have a responsibility to work the roads. Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.