With overall traffic fatalities already on the increase, the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday weekend proved to be a deadly one for 10 individuals traveling on Virginia’s highways. During the holiday statistical counting period, which began Wednesday, November 22, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. and continued through midnight, Sunday, November 26, 2017, traffic crashes claimed the lives of eight drivers, one passenger and a pedestrian. As of Monday, November 27, 2017, there have been 737 reported traffic deaths in Virginia, compared to 664 this date last year.
“The increase in fatal crashes throughout this year is troubling and should be of serious concern to all Virginians,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Tragically, there will be at least 700 families heading into the holiday season mourning the loss of a loved one because of a traffic crash on a Virginia highway. Let’s make these remaining weeks of 2017 safer for everyone by buckling up and driving smart, safe, sober and distraction-free.”
The Thanksgiving fatal crashes occurred in the City of Richmond and the counties of Appomattox, Augusta, Bedford, Caroline, Fairfax and Spotsylvania. Two of the crashes, including the pedestrian crash, occurred in the City of Richmond, and two other fatal crashes occurred in Fairfax County. Two drivers lost their lives in a two-vehicle, head-on crash in Augusta County.
In an effort to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.
During the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:
- Cited 8,016 speeders
- Cited 2,465 reckless drivers
- Arrested 102 drunken drivers
- Cited 589 safety belt violations & 205 child restrain violations
- Investigated 998 traffic crashes, in which nine were fatal
- Assisted 2,635 disabled motorists
The Virginia State Police will also this year be participating in the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving “Tie One on for Safety” campaign, which discourages drunk and drugged driving during the winter holidays.