State police see notable decline in Labor Day traffic fatalities

Published 5:57 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

by Corinne Geller

Preliminary data indicate a significant increase in the number of lives saved on Virginia’s highways during the Labor Day weekend when compared to the prior year. To date, there have been seven reported traffic deaths statewide during the recent holiday weekend. In 2015, there were 16 traffic deaths over the four-day statistical counting period for Labor Day. The statistical counting period for 2016 began at 12:01 a.m., Friday (Sept. 2) and concluded at midnight on Monday (Sept. 5).

Of the seven traffic deaths during the 2016 holiday weekend, two claimed the lives of motorcyclists in Chesterfield and Henry counties, and one claimed the life of a pedestrian in a traffic crash in Norfolk. The remaining four fatal traffic crashes occurred in the counties of Brunswick, King George, Montgomery and Nottoway. Of the last four fatal crashes, two involved individuals who failed to buckle up. All of those killed in the traffic crashes were male and were between the ages of 17 to 79 years old.

“We appreciate those travelers who made driving safety a priority this holiday weekend and helped us drive to save lives,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Even though the summer travel season is now behind us, it is still imperative that all drivers and passengers make a concerted effort to protect themselves and others on our highways. Buckling up, complying with speed limits, avoiding driver distractions, and sharing the road are essential to the prevention of traffic crashes and fatalities.”

During the holiday weekend, state police also participated in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E) program. 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. Through the state police’s stepped up presence on Virginia’s highways over Labor Day, troopers stopped and cited 8,671 speeders and another 2,769 reckless drivers. State police also cited 739 safety belt violations and 210 child safety seat violations. In addition, Virginia troopers assisted 2,779 disabled or stranded motorists, and investigated a total 705 traffic crashes.

State police also joined nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies across Virginia to launch the 2016Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program. During the Labor Day weekend, state police arrested 101 drivers for DUI statewide. The Checkpoint Strikeforce traffic safety initiative and educational outreach continue through the end of the year.

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.

CORINNE N. GELLER is the public relations director for Virginia State Police. Contact her at 804-674-2789 or