RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Out of the more than 55 million expected to travel for this Thanksgiving holiday, AAA expects approximately 49 million to be on the roads — which is why Virginia State Police are reminding drivers to buckle up and drive safely.

State police will kick off the Operation C.A.R.E. initiative — Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort — providing those traveling the roads with extra support by increasing their presence and enforcement efforts from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22 through midnight Sunday, Nov. 26.

During last year’s effort, state troopers cited 4,407 speeders and 1,803 reckless drivers statewide. According to state police, 92 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

As of Nov. 15, state police report there were 736 fatalities on Virginia roads, which is a small decrease from the 813 traffic deaths reported in 2022.

The Virginia State Police also cited 454 people for seat belt violations in 2022, and reports over half of all traffic fatalities that year involved people not wearing a seat belt.

Because numbers remain high, Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Gary T. Settle is urging Virginians to comply with all road rules, especially wearing a seat belt.

“Virginia State Police, like your families, want you to safely arrive at your holiday destination,” Colonel Settle said. “This can only happen if drivers do what they can to make our highways as safe as possible – ditching distractions, complying with posted speed limits and wearing a seat belt.”