Eight people lost their lives in eight traffic crashes across the Commonwealth, according to preliminary reports for the 2014 Memorial Day weekend.
During the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, nine people also died in traffic crashes statewide. In 2012, 11 individuals lost their lives over the four-day holiday reporting period. In an effort to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths over the Memorial Day weekend, the Virginia
State Police stepped up patrols as part of the annual Operation C.A.R.E., (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), which began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 23, 2014, and ended at midnight Monday, May 26, 2014.
The eight fatal traffic crashes occurred during the statistical counting period in the counties of Brunswick, Charles City, Cumberland, Giles, Hanover, Northumberland, Scott and Spotsylvania. Of the eight individuals killed, seven were not safely buckled up.
Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program that encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays. The stepped-up law enforcement operation was part of the new, nationwide Drive to Save Lives (#DrivetoSaveLives) campaign that aims to not only reduce traffic fatalities by 15 percent in 2014, but to also increase officer safety for those on patrol.
To achieve a 15 percent reduction in the Commonwealth, there must be 111 fewer traffic deaths on Virginia’s highways this year.
During the 2014 Memorial Day weekend, Virginia State Police troopers stopped 13,829 speeders and another 3,136 reckless drivers statewide. In addition, troopers arrested and charged 142 drivers for DUI. Troopers also cited 1,241 safety belt violations and 340 child safety seat violations. State police investigated a total of 463 traffic crashes, eight of which were fatal.
“The summer travel season is now officially upon us,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Our figures indicate there were 10 fewer traffic crashes this Memorial Day Weekend compared to 2013, which is encouraging considering the forecasts for record travel volume over the holiday.
However, more than 140 individuals still chose to drive impaired, several thousand chose to speed, and more than 1,200 failed to buckle up. Attitudes and behaviors must change if Virginia is going to reach its goal of 111 fewer traffic deaths by the end of 2014. Every motorist must drive to save lives by complying with speed limits, buckling up, avoiding distractions, and never driving drunk or drugged.”
All 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.