Report: Seven traffic fatalities in Virginia over Memorial Day weekend

policecar3According to preliminary reports, Virginia experienced its first significant decline in Memorial Day weekend traffic deaths in several years. Not since 2009, have fatalities been in the single-digits for the four-day statistical counting period for the holiday weekend. From 12:01 a.m. Friday (May 24, 2013) through midnight Monday (May 27, 2013), preliminary numbers indicate seven people lost their lives in traffic deaths on Virginia’s highways.

The seven reported traffic deaths occurred in the City of Newport News, and the counties of Amelia, Carroll, Fairfax, Patrick and Southampton. The Amelia County fatality claimed the life of a motorcyclist; and the Newport News and Carroll County deaths involved pedestrians. Of the remaining three fatalities, none was wearing a seat belt.

During the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police participated in both Click It or Ticket and Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). Operation CARE is a state-sponsored, national program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries associated with speed, failure to wear seat belts and impaired driving. The 2013 Operation CARE initiative resulted in 11,990 speeders and 2,609 reckless drivers being stopped, and 137 drunken drivers taken off the road and arrested. State police also investigated a total 620 traffic crashes statewide, with 141 of them involving injuries.

In addition, state police cited 1,143 safety belt violations and 338 child safety seat violations during the holiday weekend. For the remainder of this week, Virginia State Police will be continuing its enforcement and educational outreach participation in the national Click-It-or-Ticket traffic safety initiative. The Click-It-or-Ticket program is aimed at increasing seat belt use in Virginia and continues through June 2, 2013.

“Experiencing a decrease in traffic deaths over this past holiday weekend is definitely encouraging,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “But a greater challenge lies ahead – keeping traffic crashes and deaths at a minimum as we head into the summer travel months. To save lives on our interstates, motorists must commit to buckling up, complying with speed limits, avoiding distractions and never driving impaired.”

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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