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Virginia looking to reduce traffic deaths by 15 percent in 2014

Earlier this week, law enforcement officials, safety advocates and Governor Terry McAuliffe gathered at the State Capitol in Richmond to announce the launch of an ambitious new nationwide campaign designed to reduce the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents here in Virginia and across the nation

Called the Drive to Save Lives, the first-of-its-kind campaign was launched in response to the growing number of preventable car accident fatalities in the U.S. To illustrate, Virginia saw an unbelievable 741 deaths on the roads and highways in 2013 alone.

One of the primary goals of the Drive to Save Lives as it relates to the Commonwealth is bold: reduce 2013's total traffic deaths by 15 percent for 2014 or, put another way, save 111 lives in 2014.

"Never before has the nation's state police and highway patrol agencies teamed up for such a comprehensive enforcement initiative," said the Virginia State Police Superintendent. "The goal to save 111 lives on Virginia's highways is an ambitious, but necessary one. We are simply asking the public to drive to save lives, not take them."    

In order to accomplish this objective, the Drive to Safe Lives will focus on combating some of the leading causes of fatal motor vehicle accidents, including distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, unsafe driving by bus and large truck operators and, of course, speeding.

It's no coincidence that Governor McAuliffe and law enforcement officials selected this week to announce the launch of the Drive to Save Lives as Memorial Day weekend is nearly here.

A notoriously busy time on the roads, AAA Mid-Atlantic is predicting that as many as 937,000 Virginians will be driving to a vacation destination over the upcoming weekend.

In recognition of this fact -- and in furtherance of the state's efforts to save 111 lives -- the Virginia State Police will be out in full force from midnight Friday to midnight Monday as part of an accident reduction effort labeled Operation CARE.

Here's hoping that these Memorial Day efforts, as well as the Drive to Save Lives enjoy great success.

Source: The Augusta Free Press, "Virginia kicks off Drive to Save Lives," Chris Graham, May 20, 2014; The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "With more traveling for Memorial Day, state aims to reduce highway fatalities by 15 percent," Peter Bacque, May 22, 2014

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