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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Conduct Business Online During Thanksgiving Office Closings
Drivers Urged to Avoid Distractions, Get Rest Before Traveling

RICHMOND - All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday from Thursday, November 24 through Saturday, November 26, 2011, and reopen on Monday, November 28.

DMV customers can avoid service delays after the holiday closure by using DMV's preferred service options, including DMV's website, automated telephone service (1-888-337-4782) and the mail. Through www.dmvNOW.com, customers can complete 29 different transactions without visiting an office.

DMV urges drivers to be extra cautious during the Thanksgiving holiday due to higher traffic volumes and an increased number of out-of-state visitors to Virginia. "More vehicles on the roads, combined with distractions and the fatigue people often experience during the rush of the holidays, increase the potential for crashes," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "To lessen your risk, always pay attention behind the wheel, and get enough sleep before driving."

Sleep deprivation and fatigue can result in decreased awareness, lapses in attention and even impaired judgment. "Instead of staying up late the night before to pack, clean out the refrigerator and load the car, get your packing and loading done early the day before your trip," Holcomb recommended. "Get a good night's rest and set out on the road when you are feeling fresh."

Ten people died on Virginia's roads during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday last year. Sixteen people died in 2009, 12 people died in 2008 and 19 people were killed in traffic crashes during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday in 2007.

The most recent fatalities statewide involved drivers crossing the center line and crashing into oncoming vehicles, and drivers running off the road, over-correcting and rolling over their vehicles. "Most of the causative factors for these recent deaths were inattention - driver distractions such as looking at roadside incidents," Holcomb said. "Motorists really need to be focused on the complex task of driving when they are behind the wheel. That's the key."

Normally, the busiest travel days during the Thanksgiving holiday are Wednesday and Thursday. To avoid increased traffic, drivers can travel on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday. Motorists are also encouraged to do most of their driving during daylight hours when visibility is best.

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