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Seven people die on Virginia roads during July fourth weekend

By Justin Ward, jward@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 09 2013 05:46:18 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 09 2013 07:25:41 PM EDT

According to the Virginia State Police, drivers were safer during this Independence Day weekend than last year

RICHMOND, Va. -

Virginia drivers were safer during this Independence Day weekend than last year.

That's according to the Virginia State Police.

From last Thursday to Sunday, seven people died while traveling in holiday traffic.

Three of those were riding motorcycles.

That includes one person killed in Carroll County.

Last year 10 drivers died on Virginia roads.

State police also wrote more than 10,400 speeding tickets and arrested nearly 100 drunk drivers last weekend.

Here's the release from Virginia State Police:

RICHMOND – Of the seven fatal crashes to occur over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, three claimed the lives of motorcyclists. The three motorcycle crashes occurred in Fauquier County, Prince William County and the City of Hampton. The remaining four fatal crashes occurred in Amelia, Brunswick, Carroll and Warren counties. A total of seven people were killed in the crashes, down from 10 traffic deaths during the 2012 Independence Day holiday weekend.

During the 2013 holiday weekend, Virginia State Police stepped up patrols and enforcement as part of Operation C.A.R.E. The annual, nationwide, state-sponsored program, otherwise known as Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, concentrates on safe driving through strict traffic enforcement in an attempt to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities. The 2013 statistical counting period for the holiday weekend began at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 4, 2013, and concluded at midnight Sunday, July 7, 2013.

In addition to responding to 795 total traffic crashes statewide during the holiday statistical counting period, Virginia State Police troopers also stopped and cited 10,454 speeding motorists across the Commonwealth. A total of 2,524 reckless drivers were cited and 93 drunken drivers were taken off the highways. Troopers cited 1,044 adults for failing to buckle up and another 334 adults for failing to safely secure their children in infant, child or booster seats.

“With summer in full swing, state police cannot emphasize enough the importance of safe driving – no matter what kind of vehicle one is operating,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The Commonwealth is a popular summer destination for many within and outside our state, which means an increased volume in traffic on highways and rural routes. Commercial, passenger and motorcycle traffic must mutually share the road with one another. Patience, driving distraction free, and complying with posted speed limits are imperative to the safety of every adult and child riding on our roads."

In two of the fatal motorcycle crashes, the motorcyclist lost control of his bike and ended up colliding with another vehicle. The third crash involved a passenger vehicle pulling into the path of an oncoming motorcycle and the two vehicles collided. Visibility and proper handling are essential to the safety of every motorcyclist. For additional tips on motorcycle safety, click on the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) Website at http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/safety/#programs/motorcycle/index.asp. DMV also offers Motorcycle Rider Safety Training Courses at various locations around the state: http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/drivers/#m_course.asp.