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State police report 17 traffic deaths in Virginia over Labor Day weekend

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Courtesy Wiki Commons / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic(KNOE)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 10:43 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Seventeen people were killed in crashes in Virginia during the 2020 Labor Day weekend.

Virginia State Police said this year’s statistics match those from 2019. The number of deaths is higher compared to 2018, which saw 14 traffic fatalities, and a major spike from 2017 when there were five.

“The 2020 traffic fatality statistics continue to trend in an unacceptable direction and with 116 additional crashes with injuries over the holiday weekend, I fear that preliminary number of deaths may still increase,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent.

The 17 men and women were killed in 15 crashes in the counties of Augusta, Bland, Campbell, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico, Isle of Wight, Stafford and Westmoreland, as well as the Town of Leesburg and the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News and Roanoke.

Roanoke had three fatal crashes, including two that involved pedestrians.

VSP said a majority of the fatal crashes happened after dark, and at least five who died weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

“It is very possible that five of those who lost their lives could have been saved if they would have taken two seconds and secured their seatbelts. I know this year has been stressful and everyone wants to enjoy a holiday weekend, but every decision you make, both before and while you are at the wheel, can affect if you or someone else on the road makes it safely home. The decisions are simple: don’t drive impaired, don’t drive tired, don’t drive distracted, don’t speed, wear your seatbelt, pay attention and be a responsible passenger.”

State police investigated a total of 484 crashes during the holiday weekend.

State police participated in two annual, traffic-safety enforcement programs over the Labor Day weekend: Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (CARE) and Checkpoint Strikeforce.

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. VSP’s participation in the program began Sept. 4 and concluded at midnight Sept. 7.

As a result of these enforcement efforts over the holiday weekend, Virginia troopers stopped 4,550 speeders and 1,561 reckless drivers; arrested 55 drivers for DUI/DUID; cited 445 seatbelt violations; and assisted 1,465 disabled or stranded drivers.

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