HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - As the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches, State Police are reminding Virginians to drive sober as there will be an increase in patrol units.
“This year Independence Day means a lot of different things for Virginians, but it’s safe to say big celebrations will be part of your weekend plans,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Whether watching a neighborhood fireworks display, heading to a big celebration or traveling for summer vacation, remember to buckle up, eliminate distractions and never drive buzzed, drunk or under the influence.”
To increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities, State Police say they will increase patrols from midnight on Friday, July 2, through midnight Monday, July 5, as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.).
During last year’s four-day holiday weekend, there were nine traffic deaths on Virginia highways. Troopers arrested 44 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cited 1,540 speeders and 732 reckless drivers, and issued 126 citations for those who did not have a seatbelt on. Troopers also assisted 1,153 disabled/stranded motorists.
Police are also reminding Virginians to not drive under the influence as marijuana becomes legal for recreational use for adults 21 and up.
“It is also important to note that July 4th celebrations may be a bit different this year than those of the past due to the legalization of simple possession of cannabis for adults 21 years and over,” said Colonel Settle. “Whether you are trying marijuana for the first time or are a previous cannabis consumer, remember driving under the influence is still illegal in Virginia. If we all do our small part, we increase everyone’s chances of having a safer holiday weekend.”
The use of marijuana while driving or while being a passenger in a vehicle will continue to be illegal.