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Galax honored for zero fatalities

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City had no traffic deaths in 2018, the third year in a row

By Shannon Watkins

Staff Report

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles commended the City of Galax and 19 other Virginia localities that reported zero traffic fatalities in 2018 at a ceremony May 22.

“Making this list is no easy feat, and I salute these 20 cities and counties for saving lives by dedicating countless hours to enforcement and outreach efforts,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the governor’s Highway Safety Representative.

At the May 13 meeting of Galax City Council, Mayor C.M. Mitchell presented Chief DeWitt Cooper and Capt. James Cox of the Galax Police Department with the Zero 18 Award from the 2019 Virginia Highway Safety Summit.

“For us and our citizens, this is a really significant award,” said Mitchell. “And it’s the third year in a row. It’s the good work of not only you two, but your entire staff, taking on an extremely dangerous job, and doing it well.”

Holcomb said all drivers can do their part to keep the commonwealth’s roads safe and reduce or eliminate traffic fatalities. “Always wear your seat belt, focus your full attention on the task of driving, follow the rules of the road – including posted speed limits – and never drive after drinking alcohol. If everyone followed these four simple rules, we would save so many lives,” he said.

Virginia is an active participant in the national “Toward Zero Deaths” initiative, which brings together engineering, enforcement, education and emergency medical services professionals to work toward a goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities.

The DMV reports that crashes killed 819 people in Virginia last year.