Why Virginia's driving laws will be especially important this holiday weekend

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jul 03, 2024

NEW KENT, Va. -- We're in the middle of the busiest travel days of the July 4th weekend, so there are plenty of reasons to be on Interstate 64 near the New Kent rest area.

For Megan Longo, family time at an amusement park led her east of her home in Richmond.

"We’re traveling down to Busch Gardens to meet up with my cousins for the day," Longo said. “My cousin isn’t tall enough to ride the rides by herself yet. I love being there for her.”

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Megan Longo

Quality hangs like this cannot happen if you do not arrive safely - Longo is acutely aware of that fact after what happened to her fiancé a few years ago.

"My fiancé actually lost his leg in a motorcycle wreck. So, he is definitely one of the main reasons I’m extremely careful," she said. “It can just take a split second and someone can lose their leg or even their life. I’m very blessed my fiancé didn’t lose his life, but God forbid it could’ve ended up completely different.”

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State troopers will be out in full force over the holiday weekend, looking for speeders and reckless drivers.

Virginia roadways don't have to be dangerous, officials said, if people pay attention and drive smart: drive sober, avoid distractions, move over or slow down for disabled vehicles of any kind, and buckle your seat belt.

"Virginia State Police will be joining law enforcement around the country for the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries due to impaired driving, speeding, and failing to wear a seat belt," VSP said in a news release.

"[Drivers are] so focused on getting from point A to point B, they’re on their phones, they’re distracted," Longo said. "It’s not worth it. It really isn’t worth someone’s life.”

Our last holiday travel week was a deadly one in Virginia. VSP said there were 38 traffic fatalities in the Commonwealth during Memorial Day weekend and the week that followed.

During the holiday weekend last year, there were 377 crashes and seven fatalities statewide, VSP said.

36 drivers were also arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs and cited 2,051 speeders and 980 reckless drivers, officials said.

If statistics and police cannot convince you why all of this is important, consider Longo's perspective.

"I never thought in a million years my fiancé would get hit, but it happened," she said. "You could be the best driver in the world, and you could get hurt because of a decision someone else made. It’s not worth it. It’s really not. It’s better safe than sorry."

As a reminder, Virginia's "Move Over" law requires drivers to either move over one lane or slow down if there is a disabled vehicle or emergency vehicle on the side of a Virginia highway.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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