Virginia State Police: Labor Day traffic deaths at record low
Virginia witnessed an unprecedented drop in traffic deaths over the 2017 Labor Day weekend with three reported traffic deaths during the four-day holiday statistical counting period.
The three fatal crashes occurred in the City of Suffolk and the counties of Appomattox and Frederick. The traffic crashes in Appomattox County and Suffolk each claimed the life of a motorcyclist. During the 2016 Labor Day weekend, there were eight traffic deaths and 16 fatal crashes during the 2015 holiday.
“Despite the encouraging and significant decline in traffic deaths during this past holiday weekend, Virginia is still averaging 50 more traffic deaths this year when compared to 2016,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The Labor Day weekend clearly demonstrates that we can prevent traffic deaths on our highways, so let’s use this as the momentum we need to continue driving down fatal traffic crashes for the remainder of 2017.”
During the holiday weekend, state police participated in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) program. Operation CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints. Through the state police’s stepped up presence on Virginia’s highways over Labor Day, troopers stopped and cited 7,381 speeders and another 2,092 reckless drivers. State police also cited 576 safety belt violations and 181 child safety seat violations. In addition, Virginia troopers assisted 3,205 disabled or stranded motorists, and investigated a total 747 traffic crashes.
State police has also joined nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies across Virginia to launch the 2017 Checkpoint Strikeforcecampaign, sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). During the Labor Day weekend, state police arrested 97 drivers for DUI statewide. The Checkpoint Strikeforce traffic safety initiative and educational outreach continue through the end of the year.
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.
“We are also reminding all drivers of the importance of responsibly sharing the road with Virginia’s students and school buses, now that all schools across the Commonwealth are in session,” said Col. Flaherty. “For student drivers, whether high school or college, be sure to always buckle up, comply with posted speed limits and never drive distracted. Those students walking to and from school are urged to use sidewalks when available, walk towards traffic and increase your visibility by wearing bright colors, when possible.”
For more information on the latest youth driving tips and campaigns going on in local middle and high schools across the Commonwealth, please click on the Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) Website at www.yovaso.org.