As Virginians take to the roads this Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, Virginia State Police is urging motorists to put down their phones and buckle up so everyone makes it safely to the holiday table.
With the onset of the 2019 winter holiday season, state police proudly supports the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office and AAA Mid-Atlantic with its new traffic safety campaign aimed at heightening awareness of the deadly dangers of distracted driving. Earlier this month, Virginia State Police Superintendent, Col. Gary T. Settle, and Trooper-Trainees of the 131st Basic Academy Session signed a banner to pledge their support to the “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign and its life-saving messaging.
“The choices you make as a vehicle driver impact not only you and your passengers, but everyone else you happen to be sharing the road with at that given moment,” said Settle. “Avoid distractions, ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up, comply with speed limits and never drive drunk. If we drive like every car is filled with our friends and family, we can make sure there are no empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table this year.”
To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored, national program, state police will be increasing its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period, November 27, through December 1.
The 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 599 individuals who failed to obey the law and buckle up, as well as issuing 199 citations for child safety seat violations on Virginia’s highways statewide. In addition, state police cited 7,629 speeders and 2,192 reckless drivers. A total of 102 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.
There were 12 traffic fatalities during the 2018 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and 14 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2017.
With 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, drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.