With More Virginians Returning to the Road for Memorial Day Weekend, Motorists Urged to Keep Safety Top of Mind

Media Release – May 27, 2021

RICHMOND – With travel forecasts calling for a significant increase for the Memorial Day weekend
from 2020, the Virginia State Police (VSP) is encouraging motorists to bring their “Safety First” mindset
to the roadways. This includes obeying all posted speed limits, driving for conditions, buckling up and
ditching distractions. Traffic safety is imperative when considering that 22 lives have been lost to 16
reported crashes on Virginia’s highways between Friday, May 21, 2021, and midnight Wednesday, May
26, 2021. Of the 22 traffic fatalities, five were motorcyclists, two were bicyclists and one was a
pedestrian. Two of the fatal crashes claimed a total of eight lives.

“As a state of normalcy returns to Virginia’s roadways and families head out for summer
adventures, motorists need to remember that as traffic increases so should their vigilance and
patience,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “During this holiday
weekend, Virginians will see traffic numbers that we haven’t experienced in close to a year. All
drivers need to remember to not only comply with posted speed limits, but to also be patient and
alert for added congestion on our roads.”

Beginning Friday, May 28, 2021, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation
Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E), a state‐sponsored, national program intended to
reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.
The 2021 Memorial Day statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. on May 28 and continues
through midnight Monday, May 31, 2021. All available state police troopers and supervisors will be
on patrol through the holiday weekend to help keep traffic moving safely and responsibly.

During the 2020 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 70 drunk
drivers and cited 2,469 speeders. Troopers issued 224 citations for failing to wear a seat belt and
eight individuals lost their lives in traffic crashes. In addition, VSP personnel assisted 1,460 disabled
motorists across the Commonwealth during last year’s Memorial Day weekend.

This year, the Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative falls within the annual “Click It or Ticket”
campaign. This helps to further emphasize the lifesaving value of seat belts for every person in a
vehicle.

“Just within the past six days, 22 people have lost their lives on a Virginia roadway.
Preliminary data shows at least eight of those were not wearing a seat belt, to
include a 10‐year‐old boy. Eight lives that may have been saved with the simple click of a seat belt.
It’s an easy decision to make – buckle up. And buckle up everyone riding in your vehicle,” said
Settle.

With the increased patrols, VSP also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires
motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If
unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law
also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

Regional Media Contacts

  • Statewide

    (804) 674-2789

  • Richmond

    (804) 553-3494

  • Culpeper

    (540) 829-7713

  • Appomattox

    (434) 352-7128

  • Wytheville

    (276) 228-3131

  • Chesapeake

    (757) 424-6827

  • Salem/Roanoke

    (540) 375-9598

  • Fairfax

    (804) 674-2789

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