December 2, 2010
Virginia State Police Release New Safety Video for Holiday Season
Troopers Also Prepare for Operation Air, Land & Speed on Interstates 64 & 66
RICHMOND- During the final month of 2010, Virginia State Police are urging Virginia’s drivers to make sure they hear the ringing of holiday bells instead of the jingling of handcuffs. The holidays are particularly deadly due to the high number of drunk drivers on the roads. Impaired driving leads to too many tragic consequences. In 2009, 316 people were killed and another 6,256 persons were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes across Virginia.*
”With the spike in drunken driving arrests by troopers this past holiday weekend, there are still too many Virginians out there not getting the message to never drink and drive,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty. “During this holiday season, troopers will be patrolling for drunk drivers who ignore the law. Virginians must make the smart choice - put the keys down and ride with a sober driver.”
To remind motorists once again about making responsible choices while driving, the Virginia State Police are today launching a new video on YouTube and its Website. The public safety message reminds drivers to avoid drunk driving, to wear seatbelts and to “move over” for emergency workers on the side of the road. (http://www.vsp.state.va.us)
The 30-second video clip features Wytheville Division Trooper Kris S. Chapman and Lt. J. Edward Murphy. Two years ago Trooper Chapman was critically injured by a drunk driver on I-81 in Smyth County. At the time, Trooper Chapman was stopped out with a violator when his patrol car was hit from behind. The public service announcement (PSA) concludes with the troopers’ families joining them to urge motorists to keep our public safety professionals out of harms way during the holidays. The video was filmed with the assistance of NBC affiliate WCYB-TV in Bristol, Va.
The PSA also reminds motorists of Virginia’s “Move Over” law where drivers are required to move a lane away from stopped emergency vehicles with their lights activated on the side of the road. If unable to safely do so, motorists should proceed with caution when passing them. Earlier this year, the law was amended to include protection for tow truck drivers and highway workers who display amber-colored flashing lights.
Since September, three Virginia State troopers have been struck during traffic stops in the Commonwealth – two in Hampton Roads and one in Northern Virginia.
VSP Plan Final 2010 Operation Air, Land & Speed: If planning to travel Interstates 66 and 64 this Friday, Dec. 3, or Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, then expect to see even more troopers on both corridors for Operation Air, Land and Speed. The two-day special enforcement initiative is an effort to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries through increased patrols. The last time Operation, Air, Land & Speed targeted I-66 and I-64 was in December 2009. During that one-day operation, troopers arrested a total of 973 speeders, 226 reckless drivers and three drunk drivers.
Operation Air, Land & Speed utilizes troopers, supervisors, motorcycle units and motor carrier teams. State police operational duties on other interstates, primary and secondary roads are not affected during the operation. Funding for the enforcement initiative is provided through federal highway safety monies.
*Source: 2009 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, DMV