The 2011 July 4th holiday provided to be another grim one on the highways of Virginia (VA) with the death toll double that of 2010, according to state police figures. Our experienced Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys are saddened to note many of the usual suspects were to blame, with alcohol linked to a number of the crashes and some of the victims failing to wear seat belts.

Preliminary records indicate 13 people lost their lives in 11 crashes on VA roads and highways this year. Last year, Virginia saw  traffic fatalities during the four days leading up to and including the Fourth of July, reported.

These fatal crashes took place in  the City of Portsmouth and the counties of Accomack, Albemarle, Alleghany, Campbell, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico and Prince Edward. Alleghany and Henrico counties each had two separate fatal crashes.

“Of the 11 fatal crashes, at least four were alcohol-related. At least five of the crash victims were not wearing seat belts. The Albemarle County crash claimed the life of a Crozet man who was riding a motorcycle,” Virginia State police reported.

“To see traffic deaths spike so significantly from one year to the next, with alcohol and a lack of seat belt usage as common factors, is extremely alarming,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.

“These are more than just statistics — they are people’s lives and loved ones,” He said the lives wrecked should be a “wake-up call to all Virginians about the serious and immediate need to make driving safety a priority, especially during the remainder of the summer months.”

The deaths occurred at a time when police mounted an operation called Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort. State troopers stopped 10,462 speeders and another 2,805 reckless drivers over four days from June 1, 2011, to June 4, 2011. State police also took 117 impaired drivers off Virginia’s highways. Troopers cited 866 individuals for failing to buckle up their seat belts and 343 adults for failing to having to have their children properly secured in a child safety restraint.

As VA personal injury attorneys who help the victims of road accidents, we are particularly alarmed that the message about alcohol and driving doesn’t seem to be getting across. Thousands of drivers and passengers are still perishing needlessly on our roads, about 33,808 people every year according to 2009 figures according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on deaths caused by drunk drivers.

The figures are so high it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the lives wrecked by drunk driving, lives like that of a teenage girl who was seriously injured in Virginia Beach last month when she was traveling in a car driven by an 18 year old who was later charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.