The Richmond Times Dispatch reports the number of people killed on Virginia roadways over the July 4th holiday weekend more than doubled compared with the same period last year, state police said Tuesday.
Preliminary reports indicate that 13 people were killed in 11 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period ending midnight Monday. Six people died during the 2010 holiday, police said.
The fatal crashes occurred in Portsmouth and the counties of Accomack, Albemarle, Alleghany, Campbell, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico and Prince Edward. Both Alleghany and Henrico had two fatality crashes, police said.
Four of the 11 fatal crashes were alcohol-related, and at least five of the victims were not wearing seat belts. In addition, the Albemarle crash claimed the life of a Crozet man riding a motorcycle.
“To see traffic deaths spike so significantly from one year to the next, with alcohol and a lack of seat belt usage as common factors, is extremely alarming,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, superintendent of state police. “The tragedies this past weekend should be a wake-up call to all Virginians about the serious and immediate need to make driving safety a priority, especially during the remainder of the summer months.”
Over the holiday weekend, state police participated in the annual, state-sponsored traffic safety initiative known as Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort.
State troopers stopped 10,462 suspected speeders and cited an additional 2,805 motorists for reckless driving. Troopers also took 117 impaired drivers off the roads and cited 866 people for failing to wear seat belts.