Decrease in Memorial Day weekend traffic deaths: Virginia
Virginia experienced its fewest number of traffic deaths during the 2018 Memorial Day weekend – the lowest within at least the past five years. Preliminary reports indicate six traffic deaths occurred on Virginia highways during this year’s statistical counting period, which began at 12:01 a.m. Friday (May 25, 2018) and concluded at midnight Monday (May 28, 2018).
“This decrease in the Memorial Day weekend traffic fatalities and the slowing of traffic deaths for 2018 are both proof that we can save lives on Virginia’s highways by working together,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The Virginia State Police, in collaboration with our local police and sheriff’s offices, will continue our stepped up education and enforcement efforts as we head into the busy summer travel months. We simply ask for Virginians to do their part by always buckling up, complying with speed limits, driving distraction free and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
This year’s six holiday fatal crashes occurred in the City of Newport News, and the counties of Chesterfield, Grayson, Nelson, Pittsylvania and Rockbridge. The Newport News crash claimed the life of an adult male operating a dirt bike on Warwick Boulevard. Of the remaining five fatal crashes, four involved individuals who were not wearing seat belts. Three of those unsecured individuals were ejected when the vehicle they were riding in overturned as it crashed.
During the 2018 Memorial Day weekend, the Virginia State Police once again participated in the Operation Crash Awareness & Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation CARE is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. As a result of troopers’ increased presence on the highways during the heavily-traveled holiday weekend, 99 impaired drivers were arrested and charged with DUI. In addition, state troopers cited 8,004 speeders and 2,360 reckless drivers. State police also cited 1,038 occupant restraint violations, with 210 of those issued to adults for failing to safely secure a juvenile passenger in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt. Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.
The Virginia State Police is continuing its enforcement efforts related to the ongoing “Click It or Ticket” campaign. The two-week concentrated education and enforcement initiative began May 21, 2018, and runs through Sunday, June 3, 2018. Of the 843 total traffic deaths in 2017 throughout Virginia, 351 were unrestrained.
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