Virginia State Police: Six killed in traffic crashes over Thanksgiving holiday weekend

policeSix individuals lost their lives in traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to preliminary reports. In 2014, a total of eight people were killed in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. During the 2015 holiday statistical counting period that began at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday (Nov. 25) and ended at midnight Sunday (Nov. 29), the fatal crashes occurred in Craig, King George and Loudoun counties, and in the cities of Hampton, Newport News and Norfolk.

“Six deaths are still six too many, but the lower number of traffic deaths for this past Thanksgiving weekend is encouraging,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “As indicated by the increase in all areas of traffic enforcement over the holiday weekend and the fact that we are still averaging a dozen more traffic deaths in 2015 compared to 2014, there are still too many drivers making irresponsible choices when behind the wheel. The 54 more DUI arrests this past holiday weekend compared to last year are extremely alarming, especially as we head into the holiday season and its many festivities.”

During the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday, Virginia State Police once again participated in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E), a state-sponsored, national program that aims to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.  From Wednesday through Sunday, Virginia troopers arrested 145 impaired drivers for DUI and cited 11,605 speeders and another 3,075 reckless drivers. In addition, the troopers cited 970 seat belt violations and 286 child safety seat violations.

During the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday in Virginia, state troopers cited 9,856 speeders and 2,315 reckless drivers. In addition, 706 adults were cited for failing to buckle up as required by state law. Troopers also issued 206 citations for child safety seat violations. A total of 91 drivers were arrested for DUI.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that 2014 saw a national decline in traffic deaths, but that the first six months of 2015 indicate fatal crashes are trending upward.Nationwide data for 2014 from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) show:

  • Drunk driving crashes continue to represent roughly one-third of fatalities, resulting in 9,967 deaths in 2014.
  • Nearly half (49%) of passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.
  • The number of motorcyclists killed was far higher in states without strong helmet laws, resulting in 1,565 lives lost in 2014.
  • Distracted driving accounted for 10 percent of all crash fatalities, killing 3,179 people in 2014.
  • Drowsy driving accounted for 2.6 percent of all crash fatalities; at least 846 people died in these crashes in 2014.

All motorists are reminded to Drive to Save Lives by buckling up, avoiding distractions, complying with speed limits and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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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