RICHMOND – Fortunately, a forecasted record volume of traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend did not yield an increase in traffic deaths across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Preliminary reports indicate a total of seven people were killed in seven traffic crashes statewide, compared to nine deaths during the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday and eight in 2014.
The 2016 Thanksgiving statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday (Nov. 23) and concluded at midnight Sunday (Nov. 27). This year’s fatal traffic crashes occurred in the counties of Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell, Caroline, Loudoun and Nottoway; and the cities of Newport News and Norfolk. Two pedestrians were killed in the crashes in Caroline and Nottoway counties. The crashes in Appomattox and Buckingham counties claimed the lives of two teenagers. Of the five drivers and passengers killed, four were not wearing seatbelts.
To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police once again participated in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.
During the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:
- Cited 9,594 speeders
- Cited 2,812 reckless drivers
- Arrested 137 drunken drivers
- Cited 597 safety belt violations & 206 child restraint violations
- Investigated 1,131 traffic crashes
- Assisted 3,925 disabled/stranded motorists
Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.
“As we transition into the winter holidays, Virginia State Police troopers will continue our heightened patrol presence across the Commonwealth for the safety of all motorists,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We are asking for Virginians to do their part, too, by always buckling up, obeying speed limits, driving alcohol and drug free, sharing the road, and not driving distracted. By working together, we can save countless lives on Virginia’s highways this holiday season.”
During the month of December, Virginia State Police will continue to participate in Checkpoint Strikeforce, a research-based, multi-state, zero-tolerance initiative designed to get impaired drivers off our roads using checkpoints and patrols. It also aims to educate the public about dangers and consequences of drunk driving. According to Insurance Institute of Highway Safety studies, sobriety checkpoints can reduce alcohol-related traffic fatalities by as much as 20 percent through their ability to deter and detect drunk drivers.