How Crashes Spike over the Holidays – Police Report 17 Labor Day Road Deaths in Virginia
Road deaths in Virginia typically spike over holidays and Labor Day was no exception, according to Virginia State Police statistics.
Sadly, Hampton Roads played its share in the grim tally. Motorists lost their lives in Chesapeake, Newport News, and the Isle of Wight.
It is unclear if the coronavirus kept down traffic over Labor Day but the level of fatalities in Virginia was the same as in 2019, state police said. The majority of wrecks occurred after dark. At least five of the victims were not wearing seat belts.
We are alarmed the enhanced enforcement campaigns over the holidays and the high level of publicity have apparently failed to keep down the death rate. Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Gary T. Settle said the death rate was unacceptable. He said:
“The 2020 traffic fatality statistics continue to trend in an unacceptable direction and with 116 additional crashes with injuries over the holiday weekend, I fear that the preliminary number of deaths may still increase.”
The high number of casualties on the roads of Virginia over the Labor Day holiday in 2020 and 2019 is up on previous years. Fourteen traffic deaths occurred in 2018, while just five were reported in 2017.
Virginia State Police investigated 484 traffic crashes during the holiday weekend and arrested 55 drivers for alleged drunk driving. Officers stopped 4,500 motorists for speeding and cited 445 seat belt violations.
Why are The Holidays so Deadly for Drivers in Virginia?
Holidays are the most dangerous times of the year for drivers, not just in Virginia but elsewhere in the country. Typically, more drivers make trips on the highways, leading to more congested routes. Holidays often see an increase in drunk drivers while congestion can cause frustration, aggressive driving, and road rage.
Typically, more accidents occur on holidays that fall in the summer months. A report by Autoinsurance.org noted Independence Day was the most dangerous holiday on the roads of America from 2016 to 2018. The study found 1,349 people lost their lives on Independence Day over that time frame.
Memorial Day and Labor Day were respectively the second and third most dangerous holidays to be on the roads.
The study suggested an upsurge in drunk driving is more likely to fuel fatal crashes over the summer months. AutoInsurance.org predicted a surge in deaths over Labor Day this year because more people were likely to “break free from quarantine cabin fever to celebrate.”
Their list of the 10 deadliest holidays found Columbus Day was the fourth most dangerous holiday and father’s day was the fifth. The New Year holiday, although associated with drinking, did not even make the top 10.
The grim statistics highlight why you should avoid driving over holidays if possible. Aim to avoid the busiest travel times, typically the day before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, and Christmas Eve. Leave a day or two early if you can.
Leave plenty of time to reach your destination and try to keep your cool in congestion. Setting a strict time limit can lead to stress and accidents.
Make sure to stay alert if you are traveling long distances. Change drivers regularly or pull over and take a quick nap if you feel tired. Even 20 minutes of sleep can make you more alert.
Never drink alcohol. Even a couple of drinks can double your risk of being in a collision. You may be below the legal limit to be arrested for drunk driving but your behavior may be a danger to you and other drivers.
The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers help scores of people who end up injured due to the actions of drunk drivers every year. If you or a loved one suffered an injury, please call us today at (757) 241-8716.