Why More People are Killed over the Holidays in Virginia
The holidays typically see a surge in deaths on the highways of Virginia. Thanksgiving was no exception this year. Police investigated a dozen Thanksgiving road fatalities. The figures raise holiday death fears for December.
Virginia State Police said 12 people lost their lives over the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2018. That’s slightly down on 2017 when 14 people were killed in wrecks.
There is little room for complacency. The number of deaths over the November holiday crept up in Virginia in recent years. In 2014, six people died on our roads over the break.
Other holidays have seen spikes in deaths. In 2018, traffic fatalities in Virginia reached a three-year high for the Labor Day weekend when 12 people died on the state’s roads.
The holidays in December are also associated with an increase in fatalities as more people get on the highways after drinking alcohol at Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.
Notwithstanding all the partying associated with New Year’s Eve, more people typically lose their lives over the holidays in the spring and summer months. The Memorial Day weekend is the most deadly holiday on the roads of America.
The Thanksgiving weekend casualties this year included a police officer in Winchester in northern Virginia. The Washington Post noted officer Hunter Edwards, 30, lost his life in a single-vehicle crash as he responded to reports of a fight.
Our thoughts are with the families of all of those who lost their lives in crashes in Virginia.
Of the Thanksgiving road deaths in Virginia, eight were drivers, two were passengers in vehicles, and one was a motorcyclist.
Motorists died in Hampton, Danville, Lynchburg, and Winchester as well as the rural counties of Accomack, Greenville, Henry, Hanover, Montgomery, Stafford, and Wise.
This year, Virginia State Police ticketed nearly 600 drivers and passengers who failed to use their seatbelts. Police issued a further 198 citations for child-safety-seat violations over the holiday weekend. At least four of this year’s victims were not wearing seatbelts.
Police issued about 9,000 tickets for speeding and reckless driving violations.
Drunk driving is a known problem over the holidays in Virginia. This year, police arrested 102 people who were suspected of driving drunk in Virginia.
Why Do Holiday Road Deaths in Virginia Spike?
Sadly, deaths and injuries often spike in Virginia over the holidays. This reflects the increasing number of people who are on the highways traveling longer distances.
The resurgent economy has put more traffic on the roads over the holidays. This is only half of the story.
Despite the warnings, drivers continue to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol and partying. Virginia State Police confirmed at least two of the Thanksgiving road deaths in the Commonwealth this year were linked to alcohol.
Police hope to reduce the death toll over the Christmas holidays at the end of this month.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced a new initiative called ‘Towards Zero Deaths.’
He is urging the residents of Virginia to help transform the safety culture of the Commonwealth to reach the goal of slashing the number of traffic-related serious injuries and deaths to zero. Colonel Gary T. Settle of Virginia State Police recently stated:
“Virginia State Police troopers are committed to keeping our highways as safe as possible during the winter holiday season by increasing patrols and DUI checkpoints with our local law enforcement partners across the state. Now we just need the motoring public to commit to driving safe, smart and sober.”
While alcohol remains a menace on our roads, the holidays also see an upsurge in deaths linked to speeding, impatience and road rage.
In Maryland, a 55-year-old truck driver from Salisbury was killed in a wreck that police believe was linked to road rage over Thanksgiving.
Officers said a truck and two other vehicles appeared to be speeding and the drivers got embroiled in a road rage incident before the fatal crash.
As the holidays approach, please exercise care on the highways of Virginia. Avoid dangers like speed and alcohol. Contact an experienced Norfolk car accident injury lawyer if you or a loved one has been hurt by the actions of another driver. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077.