RICHMOND – As we approach the holidays and the end of 2023, Virginia State Police is asking Virginians to please drive safely in the coming days, so that everyone can safely reach their holiday destinations. Preliminary data indicates that as of Dec. 20, 2023, 813 people have lost their lives on Virginia roadways this year. That is 76 fewer traffic deaths than in 2022 as of this same date.
“This year, Virginia appears to have reversed the trend of increasing traffic deaths,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police. “Fortunately, the 2023 Thanksgiving holiday weekend experienced a decrease of eight traffic deaths, from 19 to 11, on Virginia’s highways. But that is still 11 too many. To prevent more tragedy from occurring on our roads during the coming holidays, we need all Virginians to buckle up, drive distraction free, comply with speed limits and always drive sober.”
In November, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) launched its #ToGetThere Campaign, saying Americans face 21 million chances they or a loved one could face a drunk driver over the holidays (between Nov. 1 and Jan. 1). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 1,000 people died in drunk driving crashes nationwide in December 2021 (the most recent year data was available), which was the highest number since 2007. *
If you do plan to attend parties this holiday season, there are several options to be able to get home safely:
- Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a friend, call family, call a cab or use public transportation.
- If you know someone who has been drinking – Do not let them drive. Arrange another safe way home.
- Remain alert for impaired drivers and do not hesitate to notify law enforcement by dialing #77 (hands free only or have a passenger call) to notify your nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center. Your actions could save someone’s life.
With increased traffic on Virginia roadways during the winter holiday season, Virginia State Police would also like to remind travelers of Virginia’s expanded “Move Over” law. The law now requires drivers to either move over a lane, or slow down, when passing any vehicle stopped along the side of the roadway, when that vehicle is displaying flashing emergency lights, hazard lights, warning signs or flares.