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Virginia State Police urges people to drive safely as fatal crashes rise in state

According to preliminary data, as of Sept. 2, there had been 532 fatalities on Virginia highways in 2020 as compared to 531 in 2019.

Virginia State Police is urging travelers on the road this Labor Day weekend to drive safely as fatal crashes in the Commonwealth continue to rise.

Labor Day traffic fatalities have been on the rise for the past three years, state police said in a news release.

According to preliminary data, as of Sept. 2, there have been 532 fatalities on Virginia highways in 2020 as compared to 531 in 2019.

AAA has reported road trips to be the main mode of vacation travel this summer and Labor Day weekend. 

Officials said motorists need to stay alert, stay sober, and wear their seatbelts.

“It’s really quite simple - seatbelts save lives, distractions are deadly on roadways and driving impaired is unacceptable,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. 

“I understand that this year has been particularly stressful and Virginians are looking to getaway. We want you and your family to reach your destination safely and throughout Virginia you can expect to see more state troopers conducting patrols to ensure that safety.”

Virginia State Police's participation in Operation CARE begins Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., and continues through midnight Monday, Sept. 7, 2020.

The state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding, and failing to use occupant restraints. 

The 2019 Labor Day weekend saw a rise in fatal crashes across the Commonwealth. A total of 17 individuals died in traffic crashes in Virginia during the 2019 four-day, holiday, compared to 14 deaths in 2018 and 5 deaths in 2017, state police said in a news release.