Saturday, September 1, 2012

Drive Responsibly and Save Lives This Holiday Weekend

If you're traveling this Labor Day weekend on Virginia's roadways, you can expect to see stepped up enforcement by the Virginia State Police.

Troopers will provide stationary and roving patrols across the state’s highways as the last holiday weekend of the summer season kicks-off. Last year, Virginia experienced a significant spike in traffic deaths during the Labor Day weekend when 16 people lost their lives during the four-day holiday statistical counting period. In 2010 and 2009, a total of 13 people were killed in traffic crashes during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

To enhance the safety of Virginia’s highways this coming weekend, Virginia State Police will have 75 percent of its uniformed workforce participating in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is an annual, state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failure to use occupant restraints. As a participating agency, Virginia State Police will increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the Commonwealth through midnight Monday, Sept. 3, 2012.

“Virginia heads into this extended holiday weekend with 500 lives already lost to traffic crashes in the year 2012,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “I encourage all motorists to put forth a concerted effort this weekend to make safe driving a priority, so we can save lives rather than sacrifice them because of an individual’s reckless and deadly driving behaviors.”

In 2011, Virginia State Police arrested 110 drunk drivers during the four-day Labor Day weekend. Troopers cited 7,480 speeders and 2,228 reckless drivers. They also issued 701 safety belt violations and 247 tickets to adults who failed to properly secure their infants and children.

With state police’s stepped up enforcement efforts, drivers are also reminded of Virginia’s Move Over law. Motorists need to comply with the law that has been in effect since 2002. It requires drivers to change to another travel lane or, when not able to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also applies to emergency response vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.

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