Lack of Seat Belt Usage Continues to Contribute to Lives Lost
RICHMOND – The 2022 Memorial Day weekend saw a sharp decrease in traffic crash fatalities compared to 2021, while also having traffic volumes that rival pre-pandemic numbers. Preliminary reports indicate eight people lost their lives in six traffic crashes during the four-day, holiday statistical counting period. During the same statistical counting period in 2021, traffic crashes on Virginia highways resulted in 15 deaths.
Of the eight individuals killed this year on Virginia highways, one was operating a motorcycle and five were not wearing a seat belt. The fatal crashes occurred in the cities of Richmond and Harrisonburg, and the counties of Giles, Isle of Wight, Mathews and Stafford. The statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday (May 27) and ended at midnight Monday (May 30).
“Virginians took to the roads in numbers we haven’t seen since 2019 and with that came the need for patience and focus on the road,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “And I am pleased to see the number of traffic crash fatalities drop by almost half from 2021, but remember, clicking your seatbelt is your first line of defense against someone else’s bad decision on the road. Virginia State Police urge all Virginia drivers to step up and make safe decisions.”
This year, the Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative fell within the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign. During the entire statistical counting period for “Click It or Ticket” and the Memorial Day weekend which ran from 12:01 a.m. May 23 through midnight May 30, Virginia Troopers cited 4,894 speeders and 1,880 reckless drivers and arrested 90 impaired drivers. In addition, 660 individuals were cited for seat belt violations, 118 were cited for child safety restraint violations and 144 felony arrests were made. Virginia State Police also assisted 1,735 disabled 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.