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November 20, 2012
Slow Down This Thanksgiving Holiday & Save Lives
VDOT Installs Additional "Move Over" Signs Across the State

RICHMOND – As the volume of traffic increases on Virginia’s highways for the Thanksgiving weekend, so will the number of Virginia State Police troopers on the road. State police will enhance its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts as part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). The program is intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. Extra patrols willincrease throughout the Commonwealth beginning Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, at 12:01 a.m. through midnight, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012.

“Everyone has a role to play when it comes to safety on our roads from the passenger buckling up to the driver avoiding distractions in the vehicle and complying with the posted speed limits,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Speed is one of the primary factors that contributes to traffic crashes, so slow down, give yourself time to get to your destination and do your part to make our roadways safe.”

Last year, a total of 11 people died in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving weekend. In 2010, there were 10 deaths. Statewide, the 2011 Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in summonses issued to 9,029 speeders, 3,082 reckless drivers, and resulted in 138 drunk drivers being taken off the road. State police cited 741 safety belt violations and 263 child safety seat violations.

“Move Over” for First Responders and Maintenance Workers

Revised Move Over Sign 2012.JPG
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Virginia State Police will have 75 percent of its uniformed workforce on patrol during peak travel periods during the Thanksgiving holiday. With the increase in emergency personnel presence, motorists are reminded to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which 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. In 2010, the law was amended to include highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.

To heighten motorists’ awareness of the state law, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently installed additional signs statewide. Currently, there are 33 signs positioned along every major interstate in Virginia. Most of the signs were in place by the end of September.

“The Move Over law saves lives,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “The Move Over signs serve as a reminder to motorists to move safely and smoothly around traffic incidents. Additionally, our Safety Service Patrols work closely with the Virginia State Police to assist with directing traffic around road incidents and hazards helping reduce the likelihood of secondary crashes.”

“These signs are another tool to continue to educate the public and caution drivers about this state law,” said Flaherty. “We can’t stress enough the importance for motorists to pay attention and give first responders and highway workers enough distance so they can safely work on the side of the road.”

Virginia is one of 49 states with a Move Over law. Nationwide, in 2011 and 2010, 25 on-duty law enforcement personnel were struck and killed by a vehicle.*

*Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund


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