RICHMOND, Va. – If the extended holiday has you and your family traveling to the mountains, lake or beach, keep your road trip safe by buckling everybody up, driving distraction free and complying with posted speed limits. As part of the Labor Day interstate safety efforts, Virginia State Police will be increasing patrols and targeting motorists who drive aggressively, impaired or recklessly. This year, the concentrated enforcement campaign begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, and concludes at midnight Monday, Sept. 2, 2013. During the 2012 Labor Day weekend, six individuals died in six crashes through the four-day holiday statistical counting period. None of the individuals was wearing a seatbelt. Sixteen individuals were killed in traffic crashes in 2011.*
“Wherever your vacation plans take you, the most important first step to beginning that road trip is to use a seatbelt,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Your best offense is to drive defensively. Make sure you, your family and friends get to your destination by paying attention to the road, obeying the speed limit and never driving impaired.”
The concentrated enforcement effort is part of Virginia State Police’s participation in Operation C.A.R.E., a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failure to use seatbelts. In 2012, Virginia State Police arrested statewide 112 drunk drivers as a result of the four-day Labor Day weekend. Troopers cited 8,274 speeders and 2,464 reckless drivers. They also issued 719 citations for adults who failed to buckle up, and 253 tickets to adults who failed to properly secure a child/infant in a car seat. Additionally, state police investigated 731 crashes statewide.
With the increase in patrols, motorists are reminded to keep first responders safe by adhering to Virginia’s “Move Over” law. Implemented in 2002, the law requires drivers to change to another travel lane or, when not able to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also applies to highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.
Focus on Safety ~ Tips for a Safe Trip
If you do plan to getaway, take the time to ensure your car, SUV, or pickup is in proper working order. Prevention and planning are much easier than the consequence or danger of dealing with a breakdown on the side of the highway. Here are a few simple safety checks/tips before you head out the door: **
- Check tire pressure – including the spare – as well as the tires tread for any excessive or irregular wear. To get an accurate reading, check air pressure when tires haven’t been driven on in three hours. Consult your vehicle owner manual for the correct tire pressure.
- Look under the vehicle’s hood to inspect hoses and belts for any tears, cuts or blisters in the rubber.
- Make sure all lights – including turn, brake, headlights, emergency flashers – are working properly.
- Check vehicle’s fluid levels and make sure each reservoir is full and there are no leaks.
- Examine wiper blades. If there is any extreme wear or tears, invest in new ones.