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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
DMV Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623 (Office)
(804) 840-9756 (Cellular)

Motorists Uged To Arrive Safely At Memorial Day Holiday Destination
Buckle Up, Obey Speed Limits to Avoid Crashes

Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest holidays on Virginia's roadways. Sixteen people died in 11 fatal crashes during the four-day 2007 Memorial Day holiday, according to preliminary data from the Department of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) Virginia Highway Safety Office. Eleven people died during the four-day weekend in 2006 and 15 died in 2005.

"This Memorial Day weekend, you can help save lives by obeying speed limits and making certain everyone in your car is buckled up at all times," said D.B. Smit, the Governor's Highway Safety representative and DMV's commissioner. "We hope all Virginians and visitors to our state have a safe, enjoyable and crash-free Memorial Day weekend."

DMV's Highway Safety Office reminds motorists to:

Highway Safety Challenge logo
  • Arrive at your destination early to avoid nighttime driving.
  • Stop and rest at least every two hours to avoid driver fatigue.
  • Use caution when taking medications, especially those that might make you drowsy or sleepy.
  • Provide appropriate distance when changing lanes after passing another vehicle.
  • Use your signals to indicate a turn or lane change.

In an effort to save more lives on Virginia¿s roadways, DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office is partnering with law enforcement across Virginia and the nation this month to increase seat belt and child safety seat use with the Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization.

According to preliminary numbers from the Highway Safety Office, 1,026 people died on Virginia roads in 2007, and 749 of those deaths occurred in vehicles equipped with safety restraints. Sixty percent (452) of the 749 people who died were not wearing restraints.

"Virginia experienced the highest number of roadway fatalities in a decade in 2007, and far too many of these tragedies were due to someone not buckling up," Smit said. ¿Clearly, this needs to change, and that is why we are joining with law enforcement to enforce all traffic laws so that needless deaths will be prevented."

In Virginia, law enforcement can cite drivers of vehicles where occupants under age 16 are not wearing seat belts or are not properly restrained in a child safety seat. Drivers stopped for other violations can be cited if they are not buckled up. This law also applies to all front seat passengers 16 years and older.

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