RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Traffic fatalities increased during the 2009 Labor Day holiday compared to last year but fatalities overall are on the decline for the year, according to the Virginia State Police.
During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers reveal that 13 people died in 11 traffic crashes. The victims range in age from 2 to 63 years of age. Last year, seven people were killed in traffic crashes compared to 22 during the 2007 Labor Day weekend.
"It is discouraging to see fatalities escalate during the Labor Day weekend, during a time when the Commonwealth is largely experiencing a drop in fatalities," says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.
"What this says is, the need is still there to remind drivers they are taking their own lives, their passengers' and other motorists' lives into their own hands when they get behind the wheel. State police cannot emphasize enough the importance of putting safety first, so you or your loved one doesn't become the next statistic on Virginia's roads."
Four of the crashes involved motorcycles and occurred in the City of Suffolk and the counties of James City, Patrick, and Pittsylvania. Of the remaining four passengers and five drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes, one passenger and two drivers were not wearing safety belts. The nine fatalities took place in the City of Newport News, and the Town of Vienna, and the counties of Buchanan, Fairfax, James City, Lee, and Prince William. Alcohol was a factor in two of the vehicles crashes, one motorcycle crash, and unknown in four others.
During the 2009 Labor Day statistical counting period, Virginia State Police:
Patrolled 325,570 miles
Assisted 2,969 motorists
Stopped 9,386 speeders
Cited 2,587 reckless drivers
Arrested 90 impaired drivers
Cited 827 safety belt violations & 251 child restraint violations
Responded to 621 total traffic crashes.
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