RICHMOND – Virginia has experienced a sharp decrease in traffic deaths over the 2012 Labor Day holiday when compared to the same statistical counting period in 2011. Preliminary data reports six people lost their lives in six traffic crashes that occurred between 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, through midnight Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. During the 2011 holiday weekend, 16 people were killed in traffic crashes; 13 people were killed during 2010 and 2009 Labor Day weekends.
The fatalities occurred in the City of Hampton and Bedford, Fauquier, Rockingham, Russell and Stafford counties. One fatality in Rockingham County involved a pedestrian and the one in Hampton involved a motorcycle. Of the remaining four fatalities, the deceased was not wearing a seat belt. Alcohol was a factor in at least one of the fatal crashes.
During the 2012 weekend, Virginia State Police arrested 112 drunk drivers during the four-day Labor Day weekend. Troopers cited 8,187 speeders and 2,459 reckless drivers. They also issued 718 safety belt violations and 251 tickets to adults who failed to properly secure their infants and children. In addition, Virginia State Police responded to and investigated 715 total traffic crashes statewide.
“We asked Virginians to make a concerted effort this holiday weekend to make safe, responsible driving a priority,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The fact that Labor Day traffic deaths were reduced by half from the year before is very encouraging in our struggle to make Virginia’s highways as safe as possible. We appreciate everyone who made an effort to share the road responsibly, buckle up, comply with speed limits, avoid distractions and drive sober. Now, let’s make this a habit worth keeping and continue to reduce traffic deaths for the remainder of 2012.”
To enhance the safety of Virginia’s highways over the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police had 75 percent of its uniformed workforce participating in the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is an annual, state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failure to use occupant restraints during major travel holidays.