RICHMOND – For many Virginians, Thanksgiving is going to look different than in previous years, with social distancing and outdoor meals. But, the rules of the road have not changed - slow down, wear a seatbelt and don’t drive distracted. Whether traveling to the grocery store or to grandma’s house, the same rings true, put your safety and the safety of others first.
“With lighter traffic on the roads, there may be a temptation to speed and a false sense of security that leads to drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This year overall, state police have seen fewer crashes on Virginia highways but those crashes have been more deadly. 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. Whatever your holiday celebrations look like this year, Virginia State Police want to make sure you arrive at your destination safely.”
To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. - Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored, national program, state police will be increasing its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period that begins at 12:01 a.m., Nov. 25, 2020 and concludes at midnight on Nov. 29, 2020.
The 2019 Thanksgiving holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 490 individuals who failed to buckle up on Virginia’s highways. State police also cited 5,221 speeders and 1,798 reckless drivers. A total of 83 drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
There were eight traffic fatalities during the 2019 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and 12 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2018.
With increased patrols, Virginia State Police 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, drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.