RICHMOND – The holidays are typically a time of joy and gathering with loved ones, but this year far too many will be missing from these gatherings. As 2022 comes to an end, Virginia has seen a rise in traffic deaths. Many of these tragedies included pedestrians and those not wearing a seatbelt. Virginia State Police remind all those on Virginia roadways that driving responsibly means everyone can get home for the holidays safely.
“This past Thanksgiving, Virginia had a record number of traffic deaths. It was the most on any major holiday in a decade. And, the past three years have seen ever increasing numbers of total traffic deaths each year*,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police. “I encourage all Virginians and their families to make time this holiday season and talk about ways to be safer on the road. Encourage loved ones young and old to adopt new safety habits and start 2023 on the right foot.”
Virginia State Police is urging every motorist on the road this holiday season to be responsible, obey the traffic laws, ditch distractions and wear a seatbelt. Whether heading to the grocery store or the post office, delivering gifts to family and friends, or celebrating the New Year, choose to do it safely and do it responsibly.
Every year during the holidays, there is an increase in drunk-driving related fatalities and crashes across the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in December 2020, there were 937 lives lost in drunk-driving crashes nationwide.
“Remember, drinking and driving or being impaired in any way is never an option,” says Settle. “Celebrating can mean different things to different people but it should never include driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.”
Drivers and passengers have many alternatives to arrive home safely. If you plan to attend a party or celebrate with a small group of friends during the holidays, please remember:
- Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a friend, call family, call a cab or use public transportation.
- If you know someone who has been drinking – Do not let them drive. Arrange another safe way home.
- Remain alert for impaired drivers and do not hesitate to notify law enforcement by dialing #77 (hands free only or have a passenger call) to notify your nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center. Your actions could save someone’s life.
*Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles