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Virginia State Police encourage putting safety first this Thanksgiving

Virginia State Police.
Virginia State Police.(NBC29)
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 3:05 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia State Police are increasing patrols as more drivers hit the road to and from holiday gatherings.

AAA predicts 1.4 million Virginians will travel for Thanksgiving, which is 11% more drivers than in 2020. With many of those travelers taking to the roads, VSP says patience might 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 Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “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.”

To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries, the Virginia State Police will once again participate in Operation C.A.R.E. - Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored, national program, state police will increase their visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period that begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, and concludes at midnight Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021.

The 2020 Thanksgiving Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers 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 Thanksgiving Holiday C.A.R.E. initiative falls within the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign. This helps to further emphasize the life-saving value of seat belts for every person in a vehicle.

With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also remind drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires drivers to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped along 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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