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Posted September 3, 2008 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Traffic fatalities significantly decrease over Labor Day weekend

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(From a press release) RICHMOND - Virginia experienced a significant decline in traffic fatalities over the 2008 Labor Day weekend. During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers indicate that seven people died in seven traffic crashes - Virginia's lowest Labor Day fatality count since 2001, when six individuals were killed in traffic crashes. Last year, a record 22 lives were lost during the Labor Day weekend.

"Though the declines in traffic crash fatalities during the Labor Day weekend and throughout this entire year are encouraging, Virginians must still make driving safety a priority," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "Seven traffic fatalities are still seven too many, especially for the families, friends and communities now mourning the loss of those individuals."

The statistical counting period began Friday, Aug. 29, 2008, 12:01 a.m. and continued through midnight of Monday, Sept. 1, 2008. Two of the fatalities involved motorcyclists, both of whom were wearing motorcycle helmets. The motorcycle fatalities occurred in the City of Virginia Beach and Bland County.

Of the remaining five fatal traffic crashes, three involved individuals not wearing safety belts. The five remaining crashes occurred in the counties of Arlington, Brunswick, Culpeper, Cumberland and Orange.

Alcohol was factor in at least one of the seven traffic fatalities and undetermined in four others. Six of the seven crashes were caused by the vehicle running off the side of the road. Those killed ranged in age from 17 to 53.

Throughout the Labor Day weekend, Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) and Checkpoint Strikeforce, an enforcement and educational campaign aimed at raising awareness about the deadly dangers of impaired driving. Operation 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.

During the 2008 Labor Day statistical counting period, Virginia State Police:

  • Patrolled 337,154 miles

  • Assisted 2,682 motorists

  • Stopped 8,474 speeders

  • Cited 2,395 reckless drivers

  • Arrested 137 impaired drivers

  • Cited 895 safety belt violations & 272 child restraint violations

  • Responded to 621 total traffic crashes.

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