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Memorial Day weekend traffic sees fewer fatalities

Fewer people drove Virginia’s highways and fewer people died in car crashes during the Memorial Day weekend, according to Virginia State Police.

Preliminary reports indicate eight people were killed during the four-day, Friday-to-Monday holiday, three fewer than the 11 killed in both 2019 and 2018, police officials said.

Of those killed on Virginia highways during the holiday this year, two were riding motorcycles and one was a pedestrian.

There were an estimated 480 traffic crashes during the weekend to which state police were called.

Fatal crashes occurred in Virginia Beach and Caroline, Montgomery, Pittsylvania, Prince William, Rockingham, Southampton and Sussex counties. The motorcycle fatalities happened in Pittsylvania and Rockingham counties.

The pedestrian, who was pushing his bicycle when he was struck and killed, was in Sussex County.

"Even though we are thankful for the slight decrease in traffic fatalities over the Memorial Day weekend, eight deaths are still too many,” said Col. Gary Settle, the Virginia State Police superintendent.

During the weekend, troopers wrote 2,489 reckless driving tickets and arrested 70 impaired drivers across the state, according to the agency. During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend, state police cited 2,548 reckless drivers and arrested 75 drivers for DUI.

Troopers also wrote 2,469 speeding tickets and 224 seatbelt violations. State police assisted 1,460 disabled motorists during the holiday weekend.

Settle said fewer drivers should have resulted in “a significant decline in the number of citations.”

“Sadly, that was not the case and too many motorists were putting too many lives at risk due to reckless choices and deadly driving behaviors,” he said.

The Virginia State Police holiday enforcement efforts are part of the Department’s annual participation in the Operation Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort (CARE), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seatbelt.


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