13 deaths on Virginia highways on Labor Day weekend; seven involved motorcycles
Police, Virginia

13 deaths on Virginia highways on Labor Day weekend; seven involved motorcycles

Crystal Graham
motorcycle on rural roadway
(© dtatiana – stock.adobe.com)

Thirteen individuals died in 10 traffic crashes over the 2023 Labor Day holiday weekend in Virginia, according to preliminary reports.

Half of the traffic crashes involved motorcycles, in which seven motorcycle operators and passengers lost their lives.

The 10 fatal traffic crashes included one fatal motorcycle accident in Nelson County that shut down U.S. Route 250 on Monday for several hours from I-64 exit 99 to the roundabout at Route 151.

Other traffic fatalities occurred in the City of Virginia Beach and Campbell, Hanover, James City, Montgomery, Pittsylvania, Rockbridge, Scott and Wythe counties.

The crashes in Campbell, Pittsylvania and Scott County each involved two fatalities.

The fatal motorcycle crashes also occurred in Virginia Beach and Hanover, Scott and Wythe counties.

“To have lost this many lives to traffic crashes, especially motorcycle riders, in just four days is both disheartening and alarming,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “As demonstrated by the enforcement statistics from the holiday weekend, Virginia’s state troopers were on patrol doing everything we could to prevent crashes and encourage compliance with Virginia traffic laws.”

During the four-day statistical counting period for the 2023 Labor Day weekend, Virginia State Police participated in both the annual Operation C.A.R.E. – the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort – as well as the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DUI prevention campaign.

State police enforcement efforts resulted in:

  • 73 DUI arrests
  • 279 drivers being cited for violating Virginia’s “hands free law”
  • Virginia State Police stopped 4,475 speeders
  • Virginia State Police stopped 1,945 reckless drivers
  • State troopers cited 491 seat belt violations
  • State troopers cited 150 child restraint violations

Operation CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored initiative that aims to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by speeding and a failure to use occupant restraints.

“As we look to these final months of 2023, I cannot impress enough the importance for all Virginians to take traffic safety seriously and commit to saving lives on our highways,” Settle said.

A total of 12 individuals died in traffic crashes during the 2022 Labor Day four-day statistical counting period, compared to 10 deaths in 2021.

The 2023 Labor Day statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, and concluded at midnight Monday, Sept. 4, 2023.

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.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.