RICHMOND – With travel forecasts calling for more than 1-million Virginians to be taking to the highways this Memorial Day weekend, the Virginia State Police is encouraging all motorists to make safe driving practices a priority. To help safeguard Virginia’s highways, the Virginia State Police will be increasing patrols during the long holiday weekend as part of the Operation Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.).
“We hope Virginians make traffic safety a priority every day of the year, but are encouraging motorists to be extra attentive during the holiday weekend,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “More than a million drivers on Virginia’s highways over the Memorial Day weekend means we have more than a million reasons to safely share the road, buckle up, drive distraction free, comply with speed limits and to not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
Beginning Friday, May 24, 2019, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation C.A.R.E., 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 2019 Memorial Day statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. on May 24 and continues through midnight Monday, May 27, 2019.
During the 2018 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 122 drunk drivers, cited 8,673 speeders and 2,704 reckless drivers. Troopers issued 218 citations for child safety seat violations and cited 856 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt.
In addition, Virginia State Police assisted 3,588 disabled motorists across the Commonwealth during the last year’s Memorial Day weekend. Of the 870 traffic crashes investigated during the holiday weekend statistical counting period, 11 resulted in fatalities. That was an increase when compared to the eight fatal crashes in both 2017 and 2016 during the Memorial Day statistical counting periods.
With the increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.