RICHMOND, Va. - Preliminary reports indicate that 20 individuals lost their lives in 19 separate traffic crashes over the Christmas and New Year's holidays in Virginia.
In 2012, a total of 16 people died in traffic crashes during each of the four-day holiday statistical counting periods.
The last time both holiday statistical counting periods included five days was in 2007 when a combined total of 21 traffic deaths were recorded.*
The statistical counting period for Christmas began at 12:01 a.m., Dec. 21, 2013, and ended at midnight, Dec. 25, 2013.
During those five days, nine traffic crashes claimed 10 lives statewide.
The fatal crashes occurred in the cities of Chesapeake, Newport News and Suffolk; and the counties of Charlotte, Greensville, Lee, Mathews, Prince Edward and Prince William.
The double fatality occurred Dec. 21, 2013, in Greensville County. At least one of the nine crashes was alcohol-related. At least three of the deceased were not wearing seat belts.
The statistical counting period for the New Year's holiday began at 12:01 a.m., Dec. 28, 2013, and ended at midnight, Jan. 1, 2014.
During those five days, 10 people died in 10 traffic crashes statewide.
The crashes occurred in the City of Newport News and the counties of Albemarle, Brunswick, Buchanan, Henrico, Henry, Orange, Patrick, Scott and Wise. At least two of the crashes were alcohol-related and three of those killed were not buckled up at the time of the crash.
"As we begin 2014, state police cannot stress enough the need for motorists to discipline their driving behaviors," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "If you're looking for a New Year's resolution that can truly make a difference in your life and others', then make one to be a safer, responsible driver in 2014. Buckle up, don't drive distracted, comply with speed limits, be alert and never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs. This year, let's count lives saved rather than lost on Virginia's highways."