RICHMOND – Three pedestrians and a motorcyclist were among the 14 individuals who lost their lives on Virginia highways over the 2022 Thanksgiving weekend, according to preliminary data. Of the 10 individuals riding in vehicles equipped with seatbelts, eight chose not to wear one.

“Not sure how many times we can say this until folks start paying attention, but ‘Seatbelts save lives,’” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We are now heading into the 2022 holiday season with 14 families grieving the loss of their loved ones due to these Thanksgiving holiday traffic crashes. For eight of those 14, the simple act of buckling up may well have prevented such tragic outcomes. Please buckle up every one in your vehicle every time and on every ride.”

In total, during the five-day period, which began at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 23, 2022 and concluded at midnight Nov. 27, 2022, 14 people lost their lives to traffic crashes in Virginia. The fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Brunswick, Campbell, Chesterfield, Floyd, Greensville, Henrico, Loudoun, Powhatan, Prince William, Rockingham and Spotsylvania and the cities of Richmond, Roanoke and Virginia Beach. Of those crashes, three involved pedestrians, one included a motorcycle and eight were not wearing a seatbelt.

This is an increase from 2021 when there were five traffic fatalities during the five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period.*

Eastern Shore Custom Carts

In an effort to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E., the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. Operation CARE is an annual, state-sponsored, national program during which state police increases its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period.

The 2022 Thanksgiving Holiday CARE initiative resulted in troopers citing 4,413 speeders and 1,803 reckless drivers statewide. Virginia troopers arrested 93 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and cited 454 for seatbelt violations.

State police responded to 1,449 traffic crashes across the Commonwealth, with 138 of those resulting in injuries. State police also assisted 890 disabled/stranded motorists during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

*Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles