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GETTING THERE: Traffic deaths down in state so far this year

MORE: See all local transportation news

WE’RE creeping up on the midway point of the year and so far statewide traffic fatalities are down quite a bit compared with last year.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 301 people had died on Virginia roads at this point in 2013. So far this year that figure stands at 266.

The numbers in the Fredericksburg region are better so far this year, too.

Through June 6, 22 people have died on Fredericksburg-region roads, according to preliminary DMV data. Last year at the same point, 37 people had died on area roads.

Let’s hope the downward trend continues.

Speaking of road safety, June is “Move Over Awareness Month.”

This campaign’s aim is to help protect those who work on roads—such folks as police, fire and rescue workers and Virginia Department of Transportation highway safety service patrols.

In case you didn’t already know, it is the law that vehicles are supposed to move over a lane when an emergency vehicle is stopped alongside the road.

If a driver can’t get into the next lane, you should “cautiously” pass them, the Virginia State Police say.

The law applies not just to police, but all emergency vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks (with flashing amber lights).

This is not just some PR stunt.

In 2013, traffic accidents were the leading cause of death nationwide for police officers killed in the line of duty, according to the state police. Of the 46 officers who died in traffic incidents last year, 11 were killed while outside their vehicles, according to preliminary statistics.

MOPED LAWS

Here’s a heads-up to moped drivers: A new Virginia law requires moped owners to get a title and registration by July 1.

The registration will cost $20.25 and the title $10.

While moped drivers do not have to have a license, you must be at least 16 years old, carry government-issued photo identification and wear a state police-approved helmet with a face shield or safety glasses (unless the moped has a windshield).

Also important to note, a moped isn’t considered a moped if it travels over 35 mph.

At that point, the two-wheeler becomes a motorcycle, and you need a license to drive one of those.

Dear Scott: I noticed going to the Rappahannock Area Landfill on State Route 626 (Potomac Run Road) that there is not a sign reducing the speed from 45 to 35 before a particularly winding portion of the road.

On the return trip home from the dump there is a sign.

Is there a reason for this or is it an oversight?

—James Moore, Stafford

VDOT’s Kelly Hannon said it’s likely the sign was knocked over.

There’s no telling where it vanished to, though.

Anyway, the highway department is making a new sign and it should be up soon.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

 

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