State police safe driving during holiday weekend

Published 8:52 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

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As students head back to school and Virginians celebrate this last stretch of summer, Virginia State Police urge those traveling this weekend to do so safely and responsibly. It is imperative for motorists to stay alert, drive sober and wear their seatbelts during the Labor Day holiday weekend and every day, all year long.

“Last Labor Day, fatal crashes were half of what they were in 2020,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Because one traffic fatality is too many, I challenge Virginians to achieve zero fatal traffic crashes this holiday weekend. The recipe is easy: ditch distractions, drive sober, comply with posted speed limits, wear your seatbelt and be patient.”

Virginia State Police will have all available uniformed personnel on patrol over the 2022 Labor Day weekend conducting traffic safety and enforcement patrols as part of Operation CARE – the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort. 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’s participation in the program began Friday, Sept. 2 and continues through midnight Monday, Sept. 5, 2022.

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The 2021 Labor Day weekend saw a reduction in fatal crashes across the Commonwealth. A total of 10 individuals died in traffic crashes in Virginia during the 2021 four‐day, holiday statistical counting period, compared to 20 deaths in 2020 and 17 deaths in 2019, according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office.

State police also are actively participating in the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, an anti‐DUI enforcement and education program sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). VSP is one of nearly 95 law enforcement agencies conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols through the end of the year in an effort to prevent and deter impaired driving and DUI/DUID‐related crashes.

“When Virginians choose to get behind the wheel after drinking, they risk their lives and the lives of others,” said Col. Settle. “Virginians statewide can expect to see more state and local law enforcement on the Commonwealth’s roadways through the Labor Day holiday as we seek to deter and apprehend impaired drivers through DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.”

With the increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. Drivers are required to cautiously pass an emergency vehicle when unable to safely move over a lane. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.