RICHMOND – Fourth of July 2018 marked a busy holiday for Virginia State Police when it came to arresting impaired drivers and citing speeding motorists. In addition, a total of three fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Augusta, Culpeper and Northampton during the two-day, holiday, statistical counting period.
Once again this year, Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), which is a traffic safety initiative that began 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2018 and concluded Wednesday, July 4, 2018, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like the Fourth of July.
The 2018 Fourth of July Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers stopping and arresting a total of 42 drunk drivers during the 48-hour statistical counting period. Troopers also stopped and issued summonses to 4,911 speeders and 1,251 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 429 safety belt violations and 114 child restraint violations.
“Every impaired driver who makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle puts countless other lives at risk of injury or death,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We need every Virginian to make the smart, safe and sober decision to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Changing drivers’ dangerous behaviors saves lives. During these summer months, we ask that all drivers and passengers adopt safe habits like always buckling up, putting down the phone and, of course, never driving impaired. Those are the first steps toward achieving our goal of zero fatalities. We can get there, but we need everyone’s help to make it a reality.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that was one person every 50 minutes in 2016. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44B per year.
Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.