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RICHMOND – Preliminary numbers indicate that nine individuals died in nine crashes during the 2013 Labor Day Weekend, the Virginia State Police reported.
In 2012, six people were killed in traffic crashes over a four-day holiday weekend. Despite the slight increase in deaths from the previous Labor Day holiday, traffic fatalities are still lower overall in Virginia. According to preliminary numbers, as of Sept. 3, 458 lives have been lost to traffic crashes in the Commonwealth compared to 514 on the same date in 2012.
Victims who died during the 2013 Labor Day holiday ranged in age from 20 to 82. Two separate fatal crashes took place in Chesterfield County. The fatality involving a moped occurred in Virginia Beach and the operator was wearing a helmet.
“There is only so much our enforcement efforts can do to help ensure the safety of the interstates. It’s also up to the individual behind the wheel to do their part to be responsible and make safe choices,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Driver attention, buckling up and complying with speed limits are imperative, necessary actions a driver must take in order to be aggressive about their safety and the security of those who ride with them.”
The remaining six crashes took place in the counties of Bland, Campbell, Frederick, Hanover, Lee, and Roanoke. Alcohol was a factor in at least two of the traffic fatalities. Of the eight passenger vehicle crashes, five of the victims were unbuckled.
The 2013 statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30, and ended at midnight, Sunday, Sept. 2. Additionally, troopers arrested 108 impaired drivers and cited 11,204 speeders and 2,464 reckless drivers during the four-day statistical counting period. The Virginia State Police 2013 Labor Day holiday enforcement efforts also resulted in 906 safety belt violations and 343 child safety seat violations. Troopers responded to a total of 636 traffic crashes statewide.
During the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police participated in Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, known as Operation C.A.R.E. The traffic safety initiative is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failure to use occupant restraints.
Funds generated from summonses issued by state police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.