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Make traffic safety a holiday priority

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

As you head out to enjoy your Independence Day activities, Virginia State Police urges motorists to make traffic safety “an integral part of” their preparations, especially since Hurricane Arthur could play a part in this weekend’s weather.

According to State Police, the Fourth of July holiday weekend ranks as one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunken driving. Between 2008 and 2012, 765 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving drivers with blood-alcohol contents at or above the .08 percent limit.

“With the additional threat of heavy rains from (Hurricane) Arthur, motorists are also advised to be prepared for inclement weather conditions, as well as detours and/or delays due to possible flooding,” said Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty.

He said “extreme caution” should be used during and after severe storms. He urged motorists to delay travel until after storms have passed whenever possible in order to avoid the threat of standing water or downed trees.

State Police will be increasing patrols over the holiday and implementing Operation C.A.R.E. (Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort), which concentrates on strictly enforcing traffic laws in an effort to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities.

“During the 2013 Fourth of July holiday period, Virginia troopers arrested 104 drivers for DUI because of their reckless decision to drive impaired,” said Flaherty. “We have zero tolerance for those who irresponsibly choose to put lives at risk on Virginia’s highways.”

The 2014 statistical counting period for the holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 4, and concludes at midnight Sunday, July 6.

State police investigated 807 traffic crashes, seven fatal, during the 2013 Independence Day weekend, compared with 10 fatalities in 2012.

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