RICHMOND, Va. – With 17 traffic deaths reported for the Labor Day weekend, the preliminary 2020 statewide statistics match the 2019 statistics. This was a jump from 2018 numbers when there were 14 traffic fatalities and a considerable spike from 2017 when there were five traffic fatalities. The majority of the 2020 fatal crashes occurred after dark and at least five of those that lost their lives weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
“The 2020 traffic fatality statistics continue to trend in an unacceptable direction and with 116 additional crashes with injuries over the holiday weekend, I fear that preliminary number of deaths may still increase,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “It is very possible that five of those who lost their lives could have been saved if they would have taken two seconds and secured their seatbelts. I know this year has been stressful and everyone wants to enjoy a holiday weekend, but every decision you make, both before and while you are at the wheel, can affect if you or someone else on the road makes it safely home. The decisions are simple: don’t drive impaired, don’t drive tired, don’t drive distracted, don’t speed, wear your seatbelt, pay attention and be a responsible passenger.”
During the 2020 four-day holiday statistical counting period, 17 men and women were killed in 15 traffic crashes across the Commonwealth. The traffic crashes occurred in the counties of Augusta, Bland, Campbell, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico, Isle of Wight, Stafford and Westmoreland, along with the Town of Leesburg and the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News and Roanoke. The city of Roanoke had three fatal crashes including two that involved pedestrians. Henrico County and the city of Newport News each had one traffic crash that resulted in two deaths. State police investigated a total of 484 traffic crashes during the holiday weekend.
The Virginia State Police participated in two annual, traffic-safety enforcement programs over the 2020 Labor Day weekend: Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (CARE) and Checkpoint Strikeforce. 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. Virginia State Police’s participation in the program began Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., and concluded at midnight Monday, Sept. 7, 2020.
As a result of state police traffic safety enforcement efforts during the 2020 statistical counting period, Virginia troopers:
· Stopped 4,550 speeders
· Stopped 1,561 reckless drivers
· Arrested 55 drivers for DUI/DUID
· Cited 445 seat belt violations
· Assisted 1,465 disabled/stranded motorists
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.