Police: Labor Day holiday traffic deaths hit record low


RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) — Virginia State Police has released the final numbers on traffic deaths, accidents and citations during the Labor Day weekend.

According to the report, Virginia saw an “unprecedented drop in traffic deaths” over the four-day statistical counting period.

Three traffic deaths were reported in total. They happened in Suffolk, as well as Appomattox and Frederick counties.

The crashes in Appomattox County and Suffolk both killed motorcyclists.

During the 2016 Labor Day holiday there were 8 traffic deaths. The year before that, there were 16.

“Despite the encouraging and significant decline in traffic deaths during this past holiday weekend, Virginia is still averaging 50 more traffic deaths this year when compared to 2016,” Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty said.

“The Labor Day weekend clearly demonstrates that we can prevent traffic deaths on our highways, so let’s use this as the momentum we need to continue driving down fatal traffic crashes for the remainder of 2017.”

State Police took part in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort or “Operation CARE,” during the holiday weekend.

It’s a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that works to reduce accidents and injuries while driving.

Troopers on Virginia highways cited 7,381 speeders, and another 2,092 reckless drivers.

571 seat belt violators and 181 child safety seat violators were also cited.

Troopers assisted 3,205 disabled or stranded drivers, and they investigated 747 traffic crashes in total.

State Police and nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies also joined together to launch the 2017 Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign.

97 drivers were arrested for DUIs across Virginia.

The Checkpoint Strikeforce traffic safety initiative and educational outreach will 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.

“We are also reminding all drivers of the importance of responsibly sharing the road with Virginia’s students and school buses, now that all schools across the Commonwealth are in session,” Col. Flaherty said.

“For student drivers, whether high school or college, be sure to always buckle up, comply with posted speed limits and never drive distracted. Those students walking to and from school are urged to use sidewalks when available, walk towards traffic and increase your visibility by wearing bright colors, when possible.”

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