Traffic fatalities have increased by 11% in the U.S. state of Virginia, according to preliminary figures revealed by Virginia State Police (VSP).

From Jan. 1, 2017, to Nov. 16, 2017, preliminary reports indicate that traffic crashes statewide resulted in 710 deaths; compared to 640 deaths during the same timeframe in 2016. VSP is now urging motorists to drive to save lives this Thanksgiving so everyone arrives safely for the celebration.

“Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, VSP Superintendent. “We’ve seen an 11% increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”

To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, VSP is participating in Operation C.A.R.E., the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. As a participating agency, VSP will increase its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts from Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 through Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017.