Seven killed in traffic crashes in Virginia over Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 1:46 PM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 13:46:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. – The 2017 Memorial Day weekend was safer for people traveling on Virginia highways than the 2016 Memorial Day weekend, according to preliminary numbers from Virginia State Police.

A total of seven drivers and passengers died in six traffic crashes statewide over the four-day weekend.

During the same weekend in 2016, eight people died in traffic crashes.

The six fatal traffic crashes occurred in the cities of Christiansburg and Norfolk and the counties of Augusta, Bedford, Carroll and Rockingham. Sunday’s fatal crash in Rockingham County claimed the lives of two drivers involved in a head-on collision, both of whom were not wearing seat belts.

Four of the fatal crashes were motorcycle crashes. Two of those motorcyclists were not wearing helmets.

State troopers responded to and investigated a total of 652 traffic crashes during the four-day weekend.

“The number of traffic deaths on Virginia’s roadways continues to decrease, down 50 percent since 2015; However, even one fatality is too many, especially when taking basic safety precautions can save a life,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We’re asking motorists to make sure they put safety first before they hit the road this summer. Buckle up, put on a helmet, eliminate distractions, put the phone down and never drive drunk or drugged. These things could make the difference in surviving or avoiding a crash all together.”

Virginia State Police also participated in Operation C.A.R.E (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a traffic safety initiative.

In total, troopers cited 10,468 speeders and 2,421 reckless drivers. There were 828 safety belt violations and 248 child restraint violations. A total of 110 drunk drivers were arrested.