Virginia State Police Beat / five died on Virginia highways over Christmas; at least two were due to DUI

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East Coast I-95 “Drive to Save Lives” Initiative Remains Ongoing Through New Year’s

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RICHMOND, Va. – Five fatal crashes over the Christmas holiday weekend resulted in the deaths of one pedestrian, one moped operator and three drivers on Virginia’s highways. The deaths occurred in Bedford and Surry counties, and the cities of Hampton, Newport News and Richmond. Alcohol was a factor in at least two of the five fatal crashes. As of Dec. 28, 2015, preliminary reports indicate 732 individuals have died in traffic crashes statewide; compared to 694 same date in 2014.

With the New Year’s holiday festivities just days away, all motorists are reminded to not to drink and drive. Virginia State Police is among the more than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies participating in the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement crackdown. Whether celebrating the New Year in Virginia or anywhere in the U.S., all drivers can avoid adding to the toll of drunk driving by following the law, planning a safe ride home, designating a sober driver or use NHTSA’s SaferRide app to call a taxi or a friend so they can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.

News with an ImpactIn addition, Virginia troopers are still on heightened patrol along the Interstate 95 corridor as part of an East Coast traffic-safety initiative. Virginia State Police is partnering with the state police, highway patrols and local law enforcement of every state along the Eastern Seaboard containing a portion of Interstate 95 in an effort to keep one of the nation’s major interstate corridors safe and fatality-free. This Drive to Save Lives traffic-safety operation began Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, and concludes New Year’s Eve.

I-95 is a major travel corridor along the East Coast, and the Christmas to New Year’s holiday season is among the busiest long-distance travel period of the year. More than 33,000 deaths occur each year on our nation’s highways, making highway fatalities one of the top 12 causes of death within the United States and the leading cause of death among teens.

The Drive to Save Lives campaign focuses on the use of seatbelts, deterring speeding and reckless drivers, and targets impaired and distracted driving on highways. Through the traffic-safety initiative, state police and highway patrol leaders are collaborating to change the high-risk behaviors of motorists that lead to crashes through education and awareness, partnerships, and high-visibility traffic enforcement.

Virginia State Police BeatThe public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers to Virginia State Police by dialing #77.

With the increase of emergency personnel on the highways, Virginia State Police reminds drivers to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. A life-saving law intended to protect public safety responders and others who have a responsibility to work the roads. Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.

Previous Virginia Christmas Traffic Fatality Statistics*:

Year Fatalities # of Days
2014 8 5
2013 13 5
2012 11 4
2011 7 3
2010 13 4

*Traffic Crash Facts, VA Highway Safety Office, DMV                       

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