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November 22, 2010
2010 Thanksgiving Travel: More Holiday Traffic = More Reasons to Drive Safe & Sober

RICHMOND – With traffic safety advocates anticipating a significant increase in the volume of highway traffic this Thanksgiving holiday (, Virginia State Police advises drivers to be even more careful and smarter in their travels. Last year, 16 people died in traffic crashes during the five-day statistical counting period for the Thanksgiving weekend. Traffic crashes claimed 12 lives in 2008 and 19 lives in 2007.

State police will have 75 percent of its uniformed workforce on patrol from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, through midnight Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. Troopers will again be participating in Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). The annual, nationwide, state-sponsored campaign is designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and a failure to buckle up.

Statewide in 2009, state troopers cited 10,462 speeders and 2,663 reckless drivers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as part of Operation C.A.R.E. Troopers also cited 895 safety belt violations and issued 240 citations for children not being properly secured in a safety or booster seat, as required by state law.

During the 2009 five-day statistical counting period Thanksgiving holiday, Virginia troopers also stopped and arrested 132 impaired drivers.

“Thanksgiving weekend traditionally signals the beginning of the December holiday festivities and celebrations,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Last year in just five days, 132 drivers were willing to risk their lives and others by driving drunk on a Virginia highway over Thanksgiving. There is no tolerance or excuse for impaired driving in the Commonwealth during this coming holiday season. Virginians have to make smart, safe and sober decisions. Drinking and driving simply don’t mix.”

Virginia State Police will be partnering with the Virginia Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for the annual Tie One On for Safety® holiday safe driving campaign. Started in 1986, Tie One on For Safety® is MADD’s longest running and most visible public awareness project. MADD asks holiday drivers to tie MADD red ribbons to visible locations on their vehicle or place window decals on their vehicles’ windows. The red ribbon represents drivers’ pledges to drive, safe, sober and buckled up, reminding other drivers and passengers to do the same.

MADD provides several safe party tips for hosts, office parties, etc. on its Website at