RICHMOND – The 2023 Memorial Day weekend proved deadly for nine drivers and passengers, to include four motorcyclists.* The holiday statistical counting period began Friday, May 26, 2023, at 12:01 a.m. and concluded at midnight Monday, May 29, 2023. The Virginia State Police not only participated in the nationwide, state-sponsored Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) during the Memorial Day weekend, but also the annual Click It or Ticket seat belt education and enforcement campaign. During the designated statistical counting period, Virginia Troopers cited 771 seat belt violations and 136 child restraint violations.
“We are in the midst of schools letting out and summer travel plans being made,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “If this past Memorial Day weekend is any indication of what Virginia’s highways may look like during the coming summer months, then we desperately need drivers and passengers to make a committed effort to buckle up everyone in a vehicle, share the road responsibly with motorcycles, and drive distraction free. Responsible, safe, and sober driving saves lives. It is really that simple.”
Participation in the four-day Operation C.A.R.E. required all available Virginia State Police patrolling the highways to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. During the 2023 combined Memorial Day C.A.R.E. initiative, Virginia Troopers cited 4,990 speeders and 1,924 reckless drivers, and arrested 89 impaired drivers. In addition, 169 felony arrests were made. Virginia State Police also assisted 1,447 disabled motorists. Virginia State Police investigated a total 1,846 traffic crashes statewide and inspected 634 commercial vehicles during the holiday weekend.
The seven fatal crashes occurred in the City of Richmond, and Henry, Loudoun, Orange and Shenandoah counties. Both Henry and Loudoun had two fatal crashes occur in their jurisdictions. Two of the four fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in Loudoun County; the other two took place in Shenandoah County and the City of Richmond. During the 2022 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative, 16 individuals lost their lives in traffic crashes on Virginia roadways.**
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.