Farm Bureau urges caution with traffic

Published 8:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Twelve people lost their lives in fatal traffic crashes in Virginia throughout 2022’s four-day Labor Day holiday weekend, according to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles crash data. Those 12 included juveniles, pedestrians and several not wearing seat belts.

“Twelve families lost loved ones,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Some of those tragically lost were young people with a full life ahead of them, including children who were not wearing a seat belt or safely secured in a child safety restraint. I implore all Virginians to wear their seat belts and require all those riding with you to do the same.”

Most fatal crashes during the 2022 holiday weekend occurred around Portsmouth and Roanoke. In total, state police investigated 772 traffic crashes. They also stopped 4,094 speeders and 1,807 reckless drivers; arrested 87 people for impaired driving; cited 435 seat belt violations; and assisted 818 stranded motorists.

“As you venture out during this busy travel weekend, keep Virginia’s newly updated ‘Move Over’ law in mind that went into effect July 1,” noted David Tenembaum, senior actuarial manager at Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. The company is a DRIVE SMART Virginia partner.

The previous “Move Over” law required motorists to make space for flashing red or blue emergency lights. As of July 1, drivers also must change lanes when possible or slow down for any vehicle on the roadside flashing amber or hazard lights. This includes utility, tow and roadside assistance trucks.

“In this last push of the busy summer travel season, keep an eye out for more disabled vehicles with their hazard lights on at the side of the road,” Tenembaum continued.

The Virginia Department of Transportation offers these tips for motorists to help make holiday travel safer for all:

•If you plan to drink, have a designated driver.

• Put the phone down! It’s unlawful in Virginia to hold a communication device while driving.

• Don’t drive distracted, and speak up if someone else is doing so.

• Buckle up, and ensure children and car seats are secured.

• Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.

•Use your signals for lane changes and turns.

• Don’t leave children, elderly people or pets in parked cars for any amount of time; cars can heat dangerously fast on hot days.