Police planning traffic safety initiatives for holiday weekend

By Joe Beck

State and local police agencies are planning to give extra attention to traffic law enforcement over the Memorial Day weekend.

Virginia State Police will step up patrols scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday and continuing through midnight Monday.

May usually has more fatal traffic crashes than any other month, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Col. W. Steven Flaherty, superintendent of state police, said in a news release that his agency will be working with local law enforcement officers and those in neighboring states as part of a broader road safety campaign.

“The Memorial Day weekend is not only one of the most traveled weekends of the year, but also signals the start of summer vacations and the main tourism season in Virginia,” Flaherty said.

Front Royal police will be among those participating in the national “Click it or Ticket” campaign aimed at raising levels of seat belt usage.

Chief Norman Shiflett said the campaign, which began Monday, will continue through the Memorial Day weekend with increased numbers of police officers on the lookout for those not wearing seat belts.

Master police officer Travis Cave said town police handed out 102 traffic citations during the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, 24 of them for seat belt violations.

Cave said he couldn’t estimate how many tickets will be handed out this year, but he noted a recent survey that showed a slight increase in the number of people using seat belts in Front Royal earlier this year.

“I think we’re going be about the same this year as far as seat belt usage,” Cave said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com