Police: Drive safe and sober

Published 11:09 pm Friday, September 4, 2009

The Virginia State Police are reminding motorists to slow down, be cautious and drive sober over Labor Day weekend.

“While Virginia continues to experience a drop in traffic crashes this year as we did last year, all drivers must remain vigilant in their efforts to make safety a priority on the road,” Virginia State Police superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty said in a press release.

Last year, seven people died in seven different traffic crashes over the Labor Day holiday, which was the state’s lowest Labor Day fatality count since 2001.

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“Motorists should not become complacent; rather, they should remain alert, limit distractions on the road, and buckle up. Virginia State Police takes a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drunk drivers. So remember, if you’re going out, we’ll be out, too — looking for and arresting impaired drivers.”

Of the seven fatalities last Labor Day weekend, six victims were not wearing safety belts.

The weekend coincides with the beginning of the annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, in which local and state law enforcement combine enforcement and education efforts to raise public awareness of drunk driving. Labor Day historically is one of the deadliest drunk driving holiday weekends of the year.

In addition, state police are launching the Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) this weekend. The state-sponsored program is designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

The Virginia State Police’s participation in Operation C.A.R.E. during the 2008 Labor Day holiday resulted in 8,492 speeders and 2,407 reckless drivers being stopped; 137 drunk drivers being arrested; and 896 safety belt violators and 271 child safety seat violations being cited.

With additional troopers on the roads, motorists are reminded to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. The law requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the shoulder of a roadway. If unable to move over, drivers should use caution and slow down when passing the emergency vehicle.