People hitting the road during the holiday have seen a larger presence of law enforcement on Virginia streets and highways than usual, and that is entirely by design. Authorities in both Virginia and Maryland have augmented patrols in anticipation of projected increased traffic volumes over the three-day Memorial Day weekend.
Authorities in Virginia have noticed an upward trend in the number of traffic fatalities statewide over Memorial Day weekend. The years 2016 and 2017 each saw eight traffic fatalities during that timeframe, while that statistic increased to 11 in 2018.
A travel analytics firm estimated a 3% increase in regional travel volume over last year's Memorial Day weekend, while another estimate predicts that 3.2 million people from the areas of Virginia and Maryland around Washington, D.C., plan to travel for the holiday. If accurate, this figure would set a new record.
With the greater presence, Virginia state authorities hope to curtail dangerous behaviors that could lead to accidents. During last year's Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement officers issued 856 citations for failing to wear a seatbelt, 218 citations for child seat safety violations and a combined total of over 10,000 citations for reckless driving or speeding.
Over the same three-day time period in 2018, authorities made 122 drunk driving arrests. However, without comparable data from previous years, or statistics on the non-fatal accidents that have occurred over Memorial Day weekend in the past, it is difficult to know how effective these measures have been.
Over the holiday weekend, authorities will be on the watch for traffic violations of any kind, large or small. Those who wind up with a citation may find it helpful to consult an attorney.