RICHMOND, Va. — Christmas Eve is just a regular day at the office for Virginia State Trooper William Moleins.
“We anticipate that there will be a high volume of travel,” he said.
Trooper Moleins picked me up at headquarters along the Midlothian Turnpike before wrapping up his patrol in Chesterfield County.
It’s a busy time of year, and Moleins is one of the troopers who will be behind the wheel over the holidays.
“You’re accountable for yourself and where that vehicle goes. Take them and remove them off the roads so that everyone else can go about their business and get to their loved ones,” he added.
Between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day last year, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 2,200 crashes. Over half of them resulted in injuries. Out of 18 fatalities, 6 that were alcohol-related.
In an effort to stop serious crashes across the Commonwealth, Gov. Ralph Northam launched a campaign called “Toward Zero Deaths” last month. The highway safety initiative aims to change driver behavior to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the road. The DMV’s website for the campaign also has safety tips for your family.
Those trying to keep you safe over the holidays, like Trooper Moleins, want to you keep an eye out for them too. There have been a number of first responders killed in the line of duty because of drivers.
“All lights you need to slow down and move over for,” Trooper Moleins explained. “There’s somebody at home waiting for them.”
Virginia also has a “Move Over” law. So, if you do see an officer, fire truck or another vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, try to move over into another lane. If you can’t, slow down as you pass by.
As you make plans with family and friends, safety officials want to make sure you think before going behind the wheel.
“Hop in an Uber. Cause an Uber with your friends, is I can guarantee a more enjoyable ride than a ride with me down to the jail,” Trooper Moleins said.