Virginia State Police urge motorists to drive safely as holiday weekend approaches

Virginia

FILE – In this Monday, March 25, 2019, file photo, cars and trucks travel on Interstate 5 near Olympia, Wash. A new study says that safety features such as automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings could prevent more than 40% of crashes in which semis rear-end other vehicles. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — As Labor Day weekend approaches, State Police are urging drivers to approach the roads safely and responsibly. Drivers are reminded to stay alert, stay sober and wear their seatbelts.

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Each Labor Day weekend for the last four years, Virginia has seen an increase in traffic fatalities.

“Last year was a record year for fatal crashes on Virginia roadways and sadly we are on pace for another tragic year,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “In 2020, there were increases in speed, unrestrained and alcohol-related traffic deaths. It’s really quite simple – seatbelts save lives, distractions are deadly on roadways, speed kills and driving impaired is unacceptable. We want you and your family to reach your destination safely, and we need every motorist to help us achieve that goal.”

In 2020, police say that 20 people lost their lives on Virginia roads. That number is up from 17 in 2019 and 14 in 2018.

As part of the nationwide program ‘Operation CARE’ (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort), State Police will have all available uniformed personnel on patrol throughout the weekend. Their participation in the program aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints.

State Police will also participate in the annual “Checkpoint Strikeforce” anti-DUI enforcement and education program. They will be nearly 100 law enforcement agencies conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols through Labor Day.

Several local police departments are also reminding drivers to be safe and responsible over the long weekend and to expect additional police presence on the roads.

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