Holiday weekend proves deadly on Virginia highways

Published 9:04 am Friday, July 15, 2022

Preliminary reports indicate the 2022 Independence Day weekend proved deadly for nine individuals, which includes three motorcyclists, across Virginia. The holiday statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1, and concluded at midnight on Monday, July 4, as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.).

Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. During last year’s four-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, there were 12 traffic deaths on the state’s highways.

The nine fatal crashes occurred in the cities of Danville, Franklin, Norfolk and Portsmouth, and the counties of Botetourt, Chesterfield, King William, Loudoun and Warren. The motorcycle fatalities occurred in the cities of Franklin and Portsmouth and Chesterfield County. The King William County crash involved an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Two of the three motorcycle fatalities were single-vehicle and involved the motorcyclist losing control prior to the crash. The City of Danville and Warren County crashes involved pedestrians.

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“As encouraging as it is to see fewer traffic deaths this July 4 holiday weekend compared to last year, Virginians still cannot let their guard down when it comes to traffic safety,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “As of today, Virginia has already recorded 423 traffic deaths statewide, and we’re only halfway through 2022 and the summer months. I cannot stress enough the need for drivers to slow their speed, wear a seatbelt, drive distraction free, and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Simply drive to save lives.”

During this weekend’s four-day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 69 drivers for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and cited 4,262 speeders and 1,585 reckless drivers. Troopers issued 429 citations to individuals for failing to buckle up, and another 131 citations for children not being properly secured in a vehicle. Virginia troopers also cited 165 drivers for being in violation of Virginia’s year-old “hands free” law. Troopers also assisted 977 disabled/stranded motorists statewide.

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.