HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - In the last 10 days, traffic crashes have claimed the lives of 16 people in Virginia. With more drivers traveling this week for Thanksgiving, state police want to remind everyone to make driving safely a priority.
Carol and Jeff Fincham are just two of the 1.3 million Virginians that AAA projects will drive to meet friends and family for turkey dinner this week.
"We're going to Nags Head for the weekend. We knew the traffic was going to be bad tomorrow, so we thought we'd get out early today," said Finchman.
State police say after an alarming number of fatalities within just the past week, they're asking everyone to make the effort to drive smart.
"We encourage you to wear the seat belt, put the phone down, concentrate on driving," said Sgt. Stephan Vick.
During the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend, nine people died in traffic crashes, according to VSP. Troopers also cited more than 12,000 speeders and arrested 145 drunk drivers. Starting Wednesday through Sunday, Vick says state police will be out in full force, stepping up patrols on Virginia's roadways.
"With the increase in traffic, we see some more accidents occurring during that time. Our goal is to have zero fatalities on Virginia highways so we really push the message of seat belts and drunk driving," said Sgt. Vick.
Virginia State Police will also be strictly enforcing the "Move Over" law.
To make travel easier, VDOT will be lifting lane closures and suspending most highway work zones and from noon Wednesday, until noon Monday.
According to TripAdviser, Thanksgiving day itself will be the busiest day on the roads.
VDOT also has an interactive travel-trends map that shows traffic patterns on specific days and times during the holiday period.
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