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Labor Day fatalities more than double

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

More than twice as many motorists died in traffic crashes in Virginia over the recent Labor Day holiday than the same time last year.

Twelve people were killed in 11 crashes during the four-day statistical counting period, 12:01 a.m. Aug. 31 through midnight, Sept. 3, according to Virginia State Police official figures, released Tuesday evening.

This year’s deaths marked a three-year high for the holiday. The last time Labor Day fatalities reached double digits was 2015, when 16 people were killed on Virginia highways.

Last year, five people were killed in traffic crashes over Labor Day.

“For most, Labor Day marks the close of summer, the last neighborhood cookout and the start of a new school year, but for 12 families – the families of those who experienced the loss of a loved one this weekend – this holiday is forever changed, ” said Col. Gary T. Settle, State Police superintendent. “It’s nothing short of alarming to have a 140 percent increase in fatalities compared to last year. What’s more surprising is that many of the crashes we see on Virginia’s highways could be prevented if we all do our part toward safety. That means buckling up, never driving impaired and always keeping our focus on the road.”

This year’s fatal crashes were in the counties of Carroll, Culpeper, Fairfax, Page, Prince William, Smyth, Tazewell and York, and the cities of Lawrenceville, Newport News and Norfolk. Three motorcyclists, a motorcycle passenger and three pedestrians were among the fatalities. Two of the five other motorists were not wearing a seat belt.

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