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September 1, 2016
Drive Sober and Save Lives This Labor Day Weekend
Motorists Reminded to Heed Potential for Heavy Rains Related to Hurricane Hermine

RICHMOND – Summer is winding down, which mean thousands of motorists will be heading out on highways across the Commonwealth this Labor Day weekend. Travelers can expect to see more stationary and roving patrols by Virginia State Police troopers as part of the Department’s participation in the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) program. Operation CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints. Virginia State Police’s participation in the program means troopers will increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the Commonwealth beginning Friday morning, Sep. 2, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through midnight Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.

Last year, Virginia experienced 16 traffic deaths during the four-day holiday counting period. This was an increase from 2014 when 11 individuals lost their lives in crashes during the Labor Day weekend. In addition to investigating 617 total traffic crashes during last year’s holiday weekend, State Police stopped 11,412 speeders and 3,189 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 933 safety belt violations and 336 child safety seat violations.

Also of concentration this Labor Day weekend is impaired driving. State police is joining nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies to participate in the 2016 Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). Last year’s Labor Day weekend netted 119 DUI arrests by Virginia troopers.

“Drunk driving takes a life, on average, every 36 hours in Virginia,” Lt. Colonel George L. Daniels Jr., Bureau of Field Operations Director said at a Checkpoint Strikeforce kickoff press conference in Richmond Thursday. “Drunk drivers don’t discriminate. They put everyone on the road at risk—a painful and never-ending reality for the families of the 241 people who died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Virginia last year.”

State Police are also reminding motorists to make safety a priority if traveling to and/or from the Hampton Roads region this holiday weekend. With Hurricane Hermine’s path currently forecasted to impact Hampton Roads, there is a serious potential for heavy rains, strong winds, and flooding in the coastal region. Drivers are advised to monitor the weather forecasts throughout the holiday weekend. Motorists are also advised to never drive through flooded roadways or high, standing water, due to the severe threat of your vehicle getting stuck or carried away in the current. When driving in heavy rain, always use your headlights, buckle up, slow down for adverse road conditions, and remain alert to other motorists and high water.

For more information on storm preparations, safety tips, and advisories related to this storm, go to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website.

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Corinne N. Geller
Public Relations Director
Virginia State Police