According to preliminary numbers, a total of 10 people were killed in eight traffic crashes throughout the state of Virginia during the Christmas holiday weekend. The four-day Christmas statistical counting period began December 24 and ended at midnight on December 27.
The number is an increase from 2008’s five-day Christmas statistical period, in which six people were killed in crashes across the state.
Of the 10 killed during the period, four were teenagers. On Christmas Eve, a 19-year-old female and 16-year-old female were killed in a crash in Prince Edward County. Neither one was wearing a seat belt and both were ejected when the vehicle rolled multiple times. On December 26, an 18-year-old male died in Campbell County when his vehicle ran off the road and overturned. He was also not wearing a seat belt. In a separate crash that day, a 17-year-old driver died in a head-on collision in Newport News. The 53-year-old driver of the other vehicle was also killed in the crash.
Two separate fatal crashes in Accomack County were investigated by Virginia State Police during the Christmas holiday weekend. The other fatal crashes took place in Henrico, Fairfax, and Rockbridge Counties. None of those five were wearing a seat belt.
According to studies, not wearing a seat belt increases one’s likelihood of being killed in a crash by five times and increases the chances of being seriously injured by three times. Under Virginia law, drivers and front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts.
Alcohol was a factor in at least two of the fatal crashes.
The 2009-2010 New Year’s four-day statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. on December 31 and ends at midnight on January 3. In 2008, the four-day holiday period saw five people killed in traffic accidents across the state.
Virginia State Police plan to continue aggressive DUI patrols and preventative enforcement efforts as part of Checkpoint Strikeforce throughout the New Year’s weekend.