Labor Day weekend traffic crashes claim 15 lives in Virginia

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

There were no reports of major accidents or fatalities in this part of Western Tidewater over the Labor Day weekend, but drivers in other parts of Virginia didn’t fare as well.

Nine drivers, four passengers, a pedestrian and a bicyclist all lost their lives to traffic crashes in the commonwealth, according to preliminary data presented by the Virginai State Police. During the 2014 Labor Day weekend, 11 traffic deaths occurred statewide. The four-day statistical counting period for this year’s holiday weekend began at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ended at midnight on Monday.

The 13 fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Dinwiddie, Essex, Fairfax, Gloucester, Hanover, Henrico, Henry, Pittsylvania, Spotsylvania and York; and in the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth and Suffolk. At least two of the fatal crashes involved alcohol.

The crashes in Henry County and the city of Portsmouth were both double fatalities. The Fairfax County crash claimed the life of a 47-year-old female pedestrian and the Hanover County crash claimed the life of a 26-year-old female bicyclist.

In the remaining 11 traffic crashes, 13 of the drivers and passengers killed were not wearing seat belts or secured in a child occupant restraint. Eight of the 13 individuals were ejected when the vehicle they were riding in overturned and/or struck a tree or other vehicle.

“There is simply no excuse for not wearing a seat belt,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Not only is buckling up the law for children and adults, but is also one of the simplest and quickest actions one can do to save a life in the event of a traffic crash.”

In addition to investigating 612 total traffic crashes statewide, Virginia State Police also participated in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) during the holiday weekend. Despite an increased presence on Virginia’s highways throughout the weekend, state troopers still cited 11,256 speeders and another 3,188 reckless drivers. State troopers also arrested 118 impaired drivers on Virginia’s highways. A total of 932 seat belt violations and 336 child safety seat violations were also cited by state troopers over the 2015 Labor Day weekend.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.