RICHMOND – With the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday this year, many Virginians are planning ahead for a long holiday weekend. Virginia State Police is encouraging everyone to also think ahead for their celebratory travel plans. Last week, state police joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving and local law enforcement to launch a series of new Public Service Announcements (PSA) to remind motorists that drunk driving kills: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCffVSEnfXOSmv5hEqUYDNfg.
“Virginia may have experienced fewer alcohol-related crashes in 2018, but those fewer crashes proved more dangerous and deadlier,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Last year in Virginia, alcohol-related fatalities increased by 12.1% in comparison to 2017. Thirty more people died and 45 more people were injured in traffic crashes due to alcohol on Virginia’s highways in 2018. That translates to 278 deaths and 4,475 injuries because of someone’s reckless decision to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday (July 3, 2019) through midnight Friday (July 5, 2019) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.
During last year’s two-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 42 drunk drivers. In addition, state troopers cited 4,911 speeders and 1,251 reckless drivers, issued 114 citations for child seat violations, and cited 433 individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up.
If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely. Party hosts are encouraged to serve guests non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.
With increased holiday 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, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.