RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Travel experts predict a near-record amount of traffic on Virginia roads over the Memorial Day weekend. Nearly one million Virginians are expected to drive 50 miles or more between Friday and Monday.
“It was a long winter,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said at an event promoting a new police initiative. “So I think everyone wants to get on the roads this weekend. And we just wanted to make sure some basic things that you need to do. We’re glad to join and participate in this nationwide effort.”
The governor helped kick off the state’s summer travel and tourism season on the steps of the State Capitol Tuesday. It was no coincidence there were 111 men and women representing state and local law enforcement and traffic-safety advocates with him.
That’s the number of fatalities police hope will be reduced in 2014 through a new traffic safety campaign called “Drive to Save Lives.”
Over Memorial Day weekend and all summer long, police plan to step up enforcement of the state’s “Move Over” law and “Click-It-Or-Ticket” campaign.
“All these years we’ve been talking about drive safely, don’t drink and drive, obey the speed limit, wear your seat belt,” Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Steve Flaherty said. “and we’re still having 33,000 traffic deaths.”
The state-sponsored, national program encourages police to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays.
During the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, nine people died in traffic crashes statewide.