(WOAY) – With most eyes on what Hurricane Dorian has in store for the Florida coast this Labor Day weekend, the Virginia State Police is encouraging motorists to keep their eyes on the road and traffic in front of them. Travel forecasts for the 2019 holiday weekend are calling for a high volume of travelers taking to Virginia’s highways. A significant increase in traffic makes it even more imperative for drivers to share the road responsibly and to drive distraction free.
“Safety on our highways is important every day, but even more so during a heavily-traveled holiday weekend,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Those traveling around and through Virginia this Labor Day weekend can expect to see more state troopers conducting stationary and roving patrols. We have all available uniformed personnel working through the holiday to help enhance the safety of our highways and decrease the risk of traffic crashes, deaths and injuries.”
Virginia State Police’s traffic safety and enforcement efforts are part of Operation CARE – the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort, 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 began Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, at 12:01 a.m., and continues through midnight Monday, Sept. 2, 2019.
The 2018 Labor Day weekend experienced a significant spike in fatal crashes across the Commonwealth. A total of 14 individuals died in traffic crashes in Virginia during the 2018 four-day, holiday statistical counting period, compared to 5 deaths in 2017 and 8 deaths in 2016.
Drivers and passengers are encouraged to safeguard themselves by always buckling up. State police is also actively participating in the annual “Checkpoint Strikeforce,” an anti-DUI enforcement and education program sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). State police is one of nearly 100 law enforcement agencies conducting 120 sobriety checkpoints and 640 saturation patrols through Labor Day in an effort to prevent and deter impaired driving and DUI/DUID-related crashes. In addition, state police reminds all motorists to drive phone- and distraction-free.
For those with holiday plans that may include traveling to Florida, please plan ahead and be prepared for potential roadway and flight delays as a result of the advancing hurricane. For the latest advisories and information, go to www.floridadisaster.org.