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June 30, 2011
Virginia State Police Step Up Patrols for Fourth of July Holiday Weekend

RICHMOND – Those traveling Virginia’s highways this Fourth of July holiday weekend can expect to see more State Police troopers on the highways. As part of the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, known as Operation C.A.R.E., the Virginia State Police will have 75 percent of its uniformed workforce on patrol Friday, July 1, through Monday, July 4, 2011.

“Having extra troopers on our interstates and other highways helps ensure a safer holiday weekend for all motorists,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “But we also ask for the motoring public’s help in preventing traffic crashes and deaths, as it is up to ever driver to comply with posted speed limits, avoid distractions and require everyone in his or her vehicle to be safely buckled up. Working together we can continue Virginia’s significant decline in traffic fatalities.”

As of Thursday, June 30, 2011, preliminary numbers report 318 traffic deaths on Virginia’s highways; compared to 360 this date in 2010. In all of 2010, a total of 740 men, women and children were killed in traffic crashes statewide.

During the 2010 July 4th holiday, Virginia State Police’s Operation C.A.R.E. enforcement efforts resulted in the following: 152 DUI arrests; 10,880 speeders and another 2,755 reckless drivers being cited; and 977 individuals being charged for failing to buckle up. There were also 383 child safety violations cited by state troopers.

State police investigated 744 traffic crashes during last year’s Independence Day weekend. There were a total of six traffic deaths during the holiday weekend in 2010. In 2009, nine people were killed and 10 people were killed during the July 4th weekend in 2008.

Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program emphasizing safe driving through the reduction of traffic injuries and fatalities, occupant restraint safety and impaired driving prevention. The 2011 statistical counting period for the holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1, 2011, and concludes at midnight Monday, July 4, 2011.

With the increased presence of troopers on the interstates, motorists are reminded to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. The state 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 emergency response vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.


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