September 1, 2017
State police increasing enforcement for weekend
State police and other law enforcement agencies will step up DUI enforcement with checkpoints and additional patrols this weekend.
In the past seven days, 15 people have died in traffic crashes on Virginia highways across the commonwealth. That alarming death toll includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and a 9-year-old bicyclist.
The fact that we have lost 50 more lives in traffic crashes this year than in 2016 should be of major concern for all Virginians.
— Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent
Tragically, this year is proving to be a deadly one for Virginia’s highways. As of Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, there have been 529 reported traffic deaths in Virginia, compared to 477 this same date last year.
“The fact that we have lost 50 more lives in traffic crashes this year than in 2016 should be of major concern for all Virginians, especially as we head into the heavily-traveled Labor Day weekend,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. “State police will have all available troopers out on patrol for the extended holiday weekend, but we need every driver and passenger committed to also doing their part to make their travels as safe as possible.”
Travelers can expect to see more stationary and roving patrols by Virginia State Police troopers as part of the department’s participation in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) program. Operation CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints.
Virginia State Police’s participation in the program throughout the commonwealth began Friday, Sept. 1, at 12:01 a.m. and continues through midnight Monday, Sept. 4.
Last year, Virginia experienced a drop in traffic deaths during the four-day holiday counting period. In 2016, there eight traffic deaths, whereas in 2015 there were 16 fatal crashes during the Labor Day weekend.
In addition to investigating 707 total traffic crashes during the 2016 holiday weekend, state police stopped 8,676 speeders and 2,772 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 739 safety belt violations and 210 child safety seat violations.
Also of concentration this Labor Day weekend is impaired driving. State police is joining nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies to participate in the 2017 Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). Last year’s Labor Day weekend netted 101 DUI arrests by Virginia troopers.
“We are encouraging Virginians to ‘Drive to Save Lives’ this holiday weekend and on through the remainder of 2017, so we can hopefully turn around this distressing increase in traffic deaths,” Col. Flaherty said. “Saving a life happens when you buckle up, don’t drive distracted, share the road, and be responsible by never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
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BJ · September 3, 2017 at 6:52 pm
Jim, Once upon a time generally people could be trusted to do the right thing but over the past 30 years the tide has turned to "it's not my fault", "it's not my problem", "Mommie and Daddy will bail me out", "you made me do it".
Charlemagne said, "Right action is better than knowledge; but in order to do what is right, we must know what is right." People stop pandering to your children, and adults own up to your failings. Blaine Johnson
Jim Griffin · September 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm
I weigh-in with my concurrence. A Holy Triumvirate of approval for the idea, as much as I generally lean against still more government.
BJ · September 2, 2017 at 3:49 pm
CO, you agree with me??? That's a first I think! Sorry it has to come at the idea of someone dying. And you too are correct Sir, both driving under the influence and driving while distracted are both choices that have consequences, and need to treated as such.
citizen observer · September 2, 2017 at 10:56 am
You're right BJ. If the state legislature isn't going to address cell phones in driver's hands, they should just drop the DUI rules. Cell phone usage is almost caught up to drunk drivers causing automotive crashes.
BJ · September 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm
When someone dies due to a distracted driver, that driver needs to treated as if they were holding a loaded gun, instead of pulling the trigger they pushed the accelerator.
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