Virginia State Police urges motorists put safety first this Thanksgiving

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Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 3:53 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be patient and practice caution during this Thanksgiving week as there will be more cars on the road and more traffic enforcement present.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that 1.4 million Virginians will be traveling for the holiday, which is 11% more motorists than in 2020. According to VSP Superintendent Colonel Gary T. Settle, patience may be the most important thing to pack.

“With traffic on the roads increasing and many people anxious to get to their destination, I encourage all Virginians to be patient. Buckle up and take your time,” said Settle. “Your family wants you to arrive safely and in a frame of mind to enjoy all the holiday has to offer. Making sure you are driving the posted speed limit, driving for conditions and wearing your seatbelt are the best ways to stay safe on the road, so you can enjoy the holiday.”

State police will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the holiday. Police will increase visibility and traffic enforcement from Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 28.

Last year, Thanksgiving Operation C.A.R.E. resulted in citing 4,930 speeders and 1,706 reckless drivers statewide. Virginia troopers charged 67 drivers for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs and cited 498 drivers for failing to buckle up themselves and/or juvenile passengers.

There were 12 traffic fatalities during the 2020 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and eight traffic fatalities during the same period in 2019.

This year, the C.A.R.E. initiative falls within the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, emphasizing the life-saving value of seat belts for every person in a vehicle.

Virginia State Police also want to remind drivers of the “Move Over” law requiring vehicles to move over when near an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

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