VA police warn motorists after 1,200+ crashes, 9 fatal last Thanksgiving

VA police warn motorists after 1,200+ crashes, 9 fatal last Thanksgiving

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State Police are warning drivers heading out for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to stay safe after last year resulted in nine deaths.

Police say during last year's Thanksgiving weekend, troopers: cited 12,200 speeders and 3,080 reckless drivers; arrested 145 drunken drivers; cited 971 safety belt violations and 286 child restraint violations; investigated 1,233 traffic crashes.

Nine people died over the holiday weekend in 2015, compared to eight in 2014 and 12 in 2013. Police say that's still too many.

"For the year, traffic deaths continue to decline in comparison to this time last year," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "But because of the alarming number of fatalities within just the past week and millions estimated to be traveling nationwide during Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to make the effort to drive smart, safe, sober and buckled up when behind the wheel of a vehicle. We are asking everyone to drive to save lives."

Police say 13 drivers and passengers have died in just the past week. Three pedestrians were also killed. 629 people have died from crashes statewide since the beginning of the year.

Police are reminding drivers to observe the "Move Over" law:

"Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights."

State Police  say they will "increase its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts" starting Wednesday through the holiday weekend.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved