RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – Virginia State Police reported a total of four fatal crashes in the Commonwealth during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period, resulting in the lowest number of Thanksgiving traffic fatalities in more than a decade.

“Although even one life lost is a tragedy, this Thanksgiving has given us something to truly be thankful for,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Patience, keeping your attention on the road and buckling up are the anecdote to the record number of traffic fatalities we have seen the past two years. This Thanksgiving, the number of people issued summons for reckless driving and seatbelts were down compared to last year, even though we know more people were on the roads. This brings home the point, that if we all do our part on the road everyone can have a safe holiday.”

Between 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and midnight on Sunday, Nov. 28, authorities say four people lost their lives to crashes in Virginia. Of those four crashes — which took place in Albemarle, Chesterfield, Fairfax, and Spotsylvania counties — one involved a pedestrian and one involved a person not wearing a seatbelt.

According to police, this is a significant decrease from the 12 traffic fatalities during the five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period for 2020.

In addition, of the Commonwealth’s 1,273 traffic crashes to which state troopers responded during the Thanksgiving holiday period, 139 of those resulted in injuries, officials say.

In order to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, Virginia State Police say they participated in Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort). During this annual, state-sponsored, national program, state troopers increase their visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period.

Authorities say the 2021 Thanksgiving Holiday CARE initiative resulted in the following actions by Virginia state troopers:

  • Citing 5,127 speeders
  • Citing1,565 reckless drivers
  • Arresting 65 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Citing 477 drivers for failing to buckle up themselves and/or juvenile passengers
  • Assisting 1,151 disabled/stranded motorists

Funds generated from any summonses issued by Virginia State Police go reportedly go toward court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding, and teacher retirement.

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