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May 26, 2011
Virginians Encouraged to Help Keep Fatality Rate Down by Buckling Up This Memorial Day Weekend
Stepped Up Patrols Statewide and Click It or Ticket Enforcement Over the Holiday

RICHMOND – Virginia is once again experiencing a statewide decline in traffic deaths this year. According to preliminary numbers, there have been 239 reported traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways between January 1, 2011, and midnight Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Last year during this same period, there were 280 reported traffic deaths statewide.

In an effort to keep those figures on the decline, every driver and passenger traveling around the Commonwealth this holiday weekend is encouraged to buckle up. The Virginia State Police is continuing its active participation in the nationwide Click It or Ticket educational and enforcement effort. The traffic safety project, which began Sunday, May 22, 2011, and runs through June 5, 2011, is aimed at increasing seat belt use in Virginia and ultimately saving lives.

In addition, those traveling this holiday weekend can expect to see more Virginia State Police on the roadways statewide as part of the annual Operation C.A.R.E. traffic enforcement campaign. The Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (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. As a participating agency, State Police will increase its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the Commonwealth beginning Friday morning, May 27, 2011, at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through midnight, Monday, May 30, 2011.

Last year during the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police troopers statewide cited 1,007 seat belt violations. Another 307 summonses were issued for children not being properly secured in either a child safety seat or booster seat.

“Virginia’s decreasing traffic fatality rate can continue its promising decline as long motorists make responsible choices while behind the wheel,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Saving lives and preventing crashes really is as simple as buckling up, obeying speed limits, and driving sober and distraction-free.”

The 2010 Operation C.A.R.E. initiative also resulted in 10,483 speeders and 2,609 reckless drivers being stopped, and 121 drunk drivers being taken off the road and arrested.

During the 2010 holiday weekend, state police investigated a total of 657 traffic crashes, with seven of them being fatal. A total of 11 died in Virginia as a result of traffic crashes over the 2010 Memorial Day weekend and seven people were killed during the 2009 holiday weekend. Additional historical statistics available at

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