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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Drivers Urged to Exercise Extra Caution in the Coming Week
Motorists Advised to Slow Down, Wear Seat Belt

RICHMOND - As New Year's Eve approaches, more motorists are expected to be out on Virginia's roadways celebrating the holiday. During the 2007-2008 five-day New Year's holiday period, 14 traffic fatalities occurred in Virginia, and 13 motorists died during the 2006-2007 four-day New Year's holiday period.

This New Year's Eve, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO) urges Virginians to slow down, drive carefully, use safety belts and arrive safely at their destinations. "Remember that it's not just a good idea to wear a safety belt, it's the law," said DMV's VAHSO Director John Saunders. "A motorist or a passenger is twice as likely to die or sustain serious injury in a crash if unbelted. In nearly half of our highway fatalities so far this year, the victims weren't wearing a safety belt. You can help save lives by making certain everyone in your car is buckled up at all times."

If you are attending a New Year's Eve party this season:

  • Arrive at your destination early to avoid nighttime driving.
  • Determine a designated driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
  • If you don't have a designated driver, call a cab, friend or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are.
  • Always buckle up. It's your best defense against other impaired drivers.

DMV's VAHSO urges Virginians to choose a HERO (www.herocampaign.org) before leaving for their New Year's Eve parties. The HERO is the designated driver who will stay sober to make sure everyone makes it home safely. Retailers across the Commonwealth are starting to join Virginia's designated driver program by pledging to provide free non-alcoholic beverages to HEROs.

DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation encourage motorists to take the Highway Safety Challenge (www.safeVAhighways.org) during the New Year's Eve holiday and every day by following these calls to action:

Highway Safety Challenge logo
  • Drive drug and alcohol free
  • Buckle up
  • Share the road
  • Avoid distractions
  • Obey speed limits

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