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Safety officials prepared for Independence Day holiday

Virginia law enforcement will be far and wide this Independence Day holiday to keep the roads safe.

From Friday, July 1, through Monday, July 4, Virginia State Police will again increase patrols on highways and byways as a part of Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (CARE).

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, about 1.3 million Virginians and nearly 48 million Americans are projected to travel 50 or more miles away from home this holiday. Most of the travelers will take road trips.

That is a 3.7% increase from last summer with automobile travel being projected to set a new national record with 42 million travelers, an increase of over 1% from 2019.

“The forecast for record auto travel is especially surprising considering the high price of gas,” Morgan Dean, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic in Virginia, said in a news release. “Even though prices have dropped over the past two weeks, drivers are paying the most they’ve ever paid for gas at the 4th of July, but that’s not stopping them from rolling out for a Great American Road Trip.”

The average price of gas in Charlottesville is $4.63, which is lower than the average price in the state of Virginia that rounds to about $4.69.

Nationally, the average price of gas as of June 29 is $4.87 per gallon.

Based on AAA booking data, Friday, July 1 is projected to be the busiest day for air travel during the holiday weekend with Monday, July 4 being the lightest.

Thursday and Friday before the holiday are forecasted to be busiest traffic days for those hitting the road.

According to the Virginia State Police, during the CARE initiative last year there were 12 traffic deaths on Virginia highways. State troopers arrested 61 drivers who were under influence of drugs or alcohol.

Meanwhile, Albemarle County Police Department’s Traffic Unit has spent the last several months increasing their presence on roadways to promote safe driving behaviors, according to Bridgette Butynski, public information officer for the county. While officers will be patrolling the streets, ACPD is emphasizing some key points to provide a safer celebration of the holiday.

“Don’t drink and drive, buckle up, slow down, don’t drive distracted or tired, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination, and drive cautiously and defensively,” said Butynski.

Additional recommendations include finding a designated sober driver before you drink, attending professional fireworks shows instead of using at-home fireworks, ensuring that any celebratory gunfire is done safely and keeping your celebration respectful to your neighbors.


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