(WFXR) — The 2022 Independence Day weekend proved to be a deadly one — especially for motorcyclists — in Virginia, with a total of nine lives lost in crashes across the Commonwealth’s highways.

According to Virginia State Police, the holiday statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 1 and concluded at midnight on Monday, July 4, as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, deaths, and injuries due to impaired driving, speeding, and failing to wear a seat belt.

Police tell WFXR News that the nine deadly crashes over the Fourth of July weekend took place in the cities of Danville, Franklin, Norfolk, and Portsmouth, as well as the counties of Botetourt, Chesterfield, King William, Loudoun, and Warren.

More specifically, the three deadly motorcycle crashes — two of which were single-vehicle and involved the motorcyclist losing control before the crash — occurred in the City of Franklin, the City of Portsmouth, and Chesterfield County, according to officials. There was also a fatal wreck in King William County involving an all-terrain vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Danville and Warren County crashes reportedly involved pedestrians.

However, the nine traffic deaths that occurred during this four-day period in 2022 mark a decrease from 12 traffic deaths on Virginia highways during the 2021 Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, authorities say.

“As encouraging as it is to see fewer traffic deaths this July 4 holiday weekend compared to last year, Virginians still cannot let their guard down when it comes to traffic safety,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “As of today, Virginia has already recorded 423 traffic deaths statewide, and we’re only halfway through 2022 and the summer months. I cannot stress enough the need for drivers to slow their speed, wear a seat belt, drive distraction free, and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Simply drive to save lives.”

During this holiday weekend’s four-day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia State Police say they took the following actions:

  • Arrested 69 drivers for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Cited 4,262 speeders
  • Cited 1,585 reckless drivers
  • Issued 429 citations to individuals for failing to buckle up
  • Issued 131 citations for children not being properly secured in a vehicle
  • Cited 165 drivers for being in violation of Virginia’s year-old “hands free” law.
  • Assisted 977 disabled/stranded motorists statewide.

According to officials, 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.