Va. police to step up I-66 patrols
Virginia State Police say they'll ramp up enforcement on the Interstate 66 corridor Friday and Saturday as part of Operation, Air, Land & Speed.
The traffic safety action also includes the Interstate 64 corridor which extends from West Virginia across the middle of the state to Hampton Roads. The two corridors were last targeted for a coordinated enforcement action a year ago. Police said troopers arrested 973 speeders, 226 reckless drivers and three drunk drivers during that period.
"With the spike in drunken driving arrests by troopers this past holiday weekend, there are still too many Virginians out there not getting the message to never drink and drive," Virginia State Police Col. W. Steven Flaherty said in a statement. "During this holiday season, troopers will be patrolling for drunk drivers who ignore the law. Virginians must make the smart choice -- put the keys down and ride with a sober driver."
According to state police data, drunken driving arrests increased about 33 percent during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend compared to 2009. Police arrested 116 people for driving drunk from Wednesday through Sunday. They arrested 132 during the same period in 2009. However, nine people died in traffic crashes this year compared to 16 in 2009. Troopers cited 10,116 speeders and 2,780 reckless drivers during this year's holiday period.
State police also released a new safety video to urge drivers to make "responsible choices while driving," officials said. The video includes Wytheville Division Trooper Kris S. Chapman, who was injured by a drunk driver two years ago, and Lt. J. Edward Murphy.
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