RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia State Police reported Wednesday that 17 people were killed in crashes across the commonwealth during Labor Day weekend, with more than half coming after dark.
This year’s preliminary statewide statistics show that the 17 people were killed in 15 crashes across Virginia, including in the counties of Augusta, Bland, Campbell, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico, Isle of Wight, Stafford and Westmoreland, and the Town of Leesburg and the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News and Roanoke. State police, which used data collected from Friday until Monday, were called to investigate 484 crashes during the holiday weekend.
“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 preliminary number of deaths may still increase,” Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent, said in a statement.
According to police, the preliminary number of deaths in 2020 match last year’s total and are three more than what was reported in 2018. In 2017, there were only five traffic fatalities during Labor Day weekend.
Eight of the deaths this year occurred during the evening or early morning and at least five of those who were killed were not wearing a seat belt.
“It is very possible that five of those who lost their lives could have been saved if they would have taken two seconds and secured their seatbelts. I know this year has been stressful and everyone wants to enjoy a holiday weekend, but every decision you make, both before and while you are at the wheel, can affect if you or someone else on the road makes it safely home. The decisions are simple: don’t drive impaired, don’t drive tired, don’t drive distracted, don’t speed, wear your seatbelt, pay attention and be a responsible passenger,” Settle continued.
Virginia State Police also said that 4,550 drivers were stopped for speeding, 1,561 for reckless driving, 55 people were arrested for DUI or DUID and 445 people were cited for seat belt violations during this year’s holiday weekend.