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State Police report an increase in crash fatalities; urge Virginians to drive safe during Labor Day weekend

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Posted at 10:52 PM, Sep 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-05 22:52:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia State Police is urging Virginians who are celebrating Labor Day weekend to do so safely and responsibly.

AAA has reported road trips to be the main mode of vacation travel this summer and with Labor Day traffic fatalities on the rise for the past three years, motorists need to stay alert, stay sober and wear their seatbelts.

“It’s really quite simple ‐ seatbelts save lives, distractions are deadly on roadways and driving impaired is unacceptable,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “I understand that this year has been particularly stressful and Virginians are looking to get away. We want you and your family to reach your destination safely and throughout Virginia you can expect to see more state troopers conducting patrols to ensure that safety.”

Operation CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding, and failing to use occupant restraints.

Virginia State Police will participate in this program starting at midnight on September 4 through midnight on September 7.

In 2019, during Labor Day weekend the Commonwealth saw a rise in fatal crashes. A total of 17 individuals died in traffic crashes compared to 14 deaths in 2018 and 5 deaths in 2017.

According to the data, there have been 532 fatalities on Virginia highways in 2020 as compared to 531 in 2019.

“In a year where there have been fewer cars on the roads, this trend is disturbing,” said Settle. “Virginians must realize that actions have consequences and when you’re unsafe on the road, people pay the price. These are strong words, but this is a serious subject. Every day State Troopers notify family members of a loved one’s death. It’s not a job we want to do and no one wants to get that knock at the door. Your safety habits can help reverse the trend and save a life.”

State police is also participating in the 19th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce enforcement.