RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia recorded eight fatal highway crashes over the July 4th holiday, up from the seven recorded during last year's Independence Day.
The Virginia State Police said Monday that four of the eight fatalities involved motorcycle crashes. Two of the victims who died were operating all-terrain vehicles and alcohol was a factor in at least one of the fatalities.
The statistical counting period was from Friday through midnight Sunday. Troopers responded to a total of 566 traffic crashes statewide.
The holiday weekend also meant stepped up patrols.
Called Operation CARE, the patrols resulted in citations for more than 11,710 speeders and more than 2,670 reckless drivers. State police also cited 77 impaired drivers and more than 1,170 people for failing to buckle up themselves or their children.
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Virginia State Police Press Release
RICHMOND – Preliminary numbers indicate that eight individuals died in eight crashes during the 2014 Fourth of July holiday weekend. In 2013, seven people were killed in traffic crashes over a four-day holiday weekend.* The holiday statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 4, 2014, and concluded at midnight Sunday, July 6, 2014.
Four of the eight fatal crashes involved motorcyclists, all of whom were wearing motorcycle helmets. The motorcycle fatalities occurred in the City of Virginia Beach and Albemarle, Brunswick and Orange counties. Two of the victims who died during the 2014 Fourth of July holiday were operating all-terrain vehicles. The ATV crashes occurred in Montgomery and Richmond counties. A 32-year-old pedestrian was killed in the City of Newport News and a 45-year-old pedestrian was killed in the City of Roanoke. Alcohol was a factor in at least one of the fatalities.
“We must continue to ask Virginians to be vigilant about their safety no matter what type of vehicle they are operating,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “In our continual efforts to drive to save lives and make Virginia’s highways as safe as possible, we urge drivers, motorcyclists, passengers and pedestrians to not let their guard down and share the road responsibly.”
Additionally, troopers arrested 77 impaired drivers and cited 11,712 speeders and 2,673 reckless drivers during the three-day statistical counting period. The Virginia State Police 2014 Fourth of July holiday enforcement efforts also resulted in 832 safety belt violations and 342 child safety seat violations. Troopers responded to a total of 566 traffic crashes statewide.
During the holiday weekend, Virginia State Police participated in Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, known as Operation C.A.R.E. The traffic safety initiative is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failure to use occupant restraints.
Funds generated from summonses issued by state police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.