May 20, 2014
Memorial Day Weekend maybe the start to summer, but it's also the beginning of the Drive to Save Lives campaign in Virginia.
Governor Terry McAuliffe was joined by police and law enforcement Tuesday at the Capitol in Richmond to kick off the campaign. The goal is to reduce to number of fatal crashes in the Commonwealth.
There were 741 traffic deaths in Virginia in 2013. One initiative for the campaign is to reduce that number by 15 percent, or 111 people which was the exact number of law enforcement officers on the steps of the capitol.
"Everybody up there represents a family. That's why we wanted to have 111 folks up there because that really brings it home for everybody," Gov. McAuliffe said.
Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo was on the steps, and spoke about the joint safety effort but police chiefs across the Commonwealth.
"As part of the 'Drive to Save Lives campaign in the coming weeks, local and campus police officers, along with our partners in the state police will be stopping drunk drivers and speeders, watching for texters and distracted driving and making sure that everyone is buckled up," said Chief Longo.
Police will also be enforcing the 'Move Over' law which makes sure drivers change lanes to avoid police and emergency vehicles on the side to the road.
"We're stepping up our game. I'm embarrassed to say that's something we should be doing every day, and have been doing every day for years."
Chief Longo says traffic deaths are preventable accidents and the campaign goal is to do just that, prevent them.
"We need every driver in Virginia to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road," Longo said.
This was one of several events in the Commonwealth reminding drivers to stay safe on Memorial Day Weekend.