Police officials across Virginia appear to have been busy this past week, busy issuing tickets that is. Virginia State Police say they issued 770 summonses and arrests during a two-day push aimed at encouraging safer driving practices.
The two-day effort coincided with Project Motorcycle Enforcement Accident Reduction and took place on June 24 and 25. Virginia State Police say they coordinated their efforts with local police departments in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. Many of the officers were motorcycle units who were responsible for patrolling more than 2,650 miles of Virginia roadway.
The VSP and local agencies patrolled areas that were known for being either heavily trafficked or prone to dangerous auto accidents. Officers worked to cut down on incidents of speeding, reckless driving and other dangerous behavior that have been shown to contribute to accidents.
Of the nearly 800 citations and arrests, almost three-quarters were speed-related. Another 38 offenses were for reckless driving, 22 for seatbelt violations and the rest for miscellaneous reasons.
The hope is that law enforcement campaigns like this one help remind drivers of the importance of following even the most basic traffic safety regulations. Though things like speeding may seem commonplace and thus not a major concern, the reality is that speeding causes a huge share of all deadly car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is a contributing factor in around 30 percent of all deadly car crashes. More than 10,000 lives are lost across the country each year due to speeding. Beyond lives lost, the NHTSA says that speeding results in costs, both direct medical expenses and indirect costs, of more than $28 billion each and every year.
What is most frustrating about the harm caused by speeding is that, unlike road conditions, bad weather or faulty equipment, speeding is deliberate. Drivers fully understand that they are breaking the law and that what they are doing carries risk, yet many simply push this danger out of their minds. More than 75 percent of all licensed drivers admit to speeding on a regular basis, yet many fail to see how this decision can easily prove deadly.
Our advice for everyone as the busy July Fourth weekend approaches is to slow down. Take your time and realize that driving faster than allowed will likely save you little if any time. Arriving to your destination safe and sound is far better than shaving a few seconds off your commute.