RICHMOND Va. (WVEC) -- Virginia State Police is reminding motorists to be careful on the roads as they enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Since last Saturday, November 12, crashes in Virginia have claimed the lives of 13 drivers and passengers, as well as three pedestrians.

Since January 1st, preliminary reports indicate traffic accidents have resulted in 629 deaths. That's down from 661 deaths over the same period in 2015.

“For the year, traffic deaths continue to decline in comparison to this time last year,” Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty said in a news release. “But because of the alarming number of fatalities within just the past week and millions estimated to be traveling nationwide during Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to make the effort to drive smart, safe, sober and buckled up when behind the wheel of a vehicle. We are asking everyone to drive to save lives.”

State Police are once again participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). The national program is designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

Troopers will increase their visibility and traffic enforcement efforts beginning Wednesday, November 23rd and continuing through midnight, Sunday, November 27th.

With additional troopers and other law enforcement working on Virginia’s highways this holiday weekend, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. According to the law, drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.