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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Friday, May 27, 2011
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Motorists Urged to Drive Safely During Memorial Day Weekend
Wear Seat Belt, Avoid Alcohol and Distractions

RICHMOND - Memorial Day weekend is normally one of the most heavily-traveled and deadliest holidays on Virginia's roadways. Eleven people died in traffic crashes during the four-day 2010 Memorial Day holiday, from Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31, 2010.

"Buckle up, don't drive impaired, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and focus on the task of driving," advised DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative.

"Since Virginia is investing nearly $4 billion in its transportation network, funding more than 900 projects during the next three years, motorists will see record numbers of road improvement projects under way," Holcomb said. "When you see road construction this Memorial Day weekend and during the next few years, remember to drive alert and be patient. Virginia is doing its part for highway safety; please do yours."

Seventy percent of those who died during Memorial Day weekend 2010 were not wearing a safety restraint. Most of the deaths occurred on Friday and Saturday between 6 p.m. and midnight.

More than half of the traffic fatalities, or 64 percent, were alcohol-related. In Virginia, alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes result in average charges of $35,000 for 5.5 days in the hospital.

"To prevent a tragedy from occurring this Memorial Day weekend, do not drive after drinking any alcohol, period," Holcomb said. "Even one drink can adversely affect a driver's reaction time and his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle. With the added traffic on Memorial Day weekend, be sure to designate a sober driver before heading to your cook-out or celebration."

As Memorial Day weekend ushers in even warmer weather, DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office also reminds motorists to watch out for pedestrians. If you plan to walk in an area where there is vehicular traffic, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • When walking, wear light colors so motorists can see you
  • When walking at night, reflective clothing or flashlights make you more visible to motorists
  • Make sure you walk against the traffic and use crosswalks whenever available
  • When crossing a street, look left, look right and look left again
  • Dusk and dawn are the most dangerous times of the day for pedestrians

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