‘Seatbelts save lives’: Va., Md. detail holiday traffic fatalities

The state police in Virginia and Maryland on Tuesday released the numbers on crashes, injuries and deaths on their highways over the Thanksgiving weekend.

In the five-day period starting last Wednesday and running through Sunday night, 14 people in Virginia were killed — 10 in vehicles, three pedestrians and a motorcyclist, the state police said. That’s up from five in the same five-day period last year.

Of the 10 people who were killed in vehicles that had seatbelts, eight of them weren’t wearing one, the state police said.

“Not sure how many times we can say this until folks start paying attention, but ‘Seatbelts save lives,’” Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Gary T. Settle said in the statement.

“We are now heading into the 2022 holiday season with 14 families grieving the loss of their loved ones due to these Thanksgiving holiday traffic crashes. For eight of those 14, the simple act of buckling up may well have prevented such tragic outcomes. Please buckle up everyone in your vehicle every time and on every ride.”

The deaths happened in Brunswick, Campbell, Chesterfield, Floyd, Greensville, Henrico, Loudoun, Powhatan, Prince William, Rockingham and Spotsylvania counties, as well as the cities of Richmond, Roanoke and Virginia Beach, the state police said.

The numbers come in spite of 4,413 citations for speeding and 1,803 for reckless driving statewide, in an effort to reduce crashes. They also arrested 93 drivers charged with driving under the influence, and cited 454 drivers for seatbelt violations.

The state police said they responded to a total of 1,449 crashes, with 138 resulting in injuries. They also helped 890 stranded motorists.


The Maryland State Police said there were two fatal crashes over the same time period over the same five-day period, resulting in two deaths. There were 487 total crashes.

They also made 117 DUI arrests, 30 warrant arrests and 23 criminal arrests. Meanwhile, 2,860 citations and 4,011 warnings were handed out.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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