Five killed in traffic crashes in two days on Virginia highways during July 4 holiday

Virginia State PoliceRICHMOND – Preliminary data indicates five individuals lost their lives in four traffic crashes during the 48-hour statistical counting period designated for the July 4, 2023, holiday. Of those who died, one was a motorcyclist, two were drivers and two were passengers. The fatal crashes took place in Arlington, Buchanan, Charles City and Craig counties. During the four-day statistical counting period for July 4, 2022, traffic crashes claimed 10 lives on Virginia’s highways.*  

To do its part to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the holiday, State Police participated in Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation CARE 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. The statistical counting period began 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 3, 2023, and concluded at midnight Tuesday, July 4, 2023.  

“We are in the height of the summer travel season, so traffic safety should be of the utmost importance for all Virginians,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Excessive speeding, drivers and passengers failing to buckle up and distracted driving continue to put all at risk traveling on our highways. Our state troopers cannot be everywhere all the time. We need Virginians to put forth the extra effort and comply with speed limits, buckle up and put the phone down. That’s how we save lives on our highways.” 

During the 2023 two-day Operation CARE initiative for the July 4 holiday, Virginia troopers arrested 36 drivers for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and cited 2,051 speeders and 980 reckless drivers. Troopers issued 254 citations to individuals for failing to buckle up, and another 74 citations for children not being properly secured in a vehicle. Virginia troopers also cited 124 drivers for being in violation of Virginia’s “hands free” law. 

State police investigated 377 total traffic crashes statewide and assisted 392 disabled/stranded motorists during the July 4 statistical counting period. 

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.