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Memorial Day travel: Virginia to boost road patrols

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia State Police will boost road patrols over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Increased patrols begin Friday and continue through Monday night. It's part of the annual Operation CARE national traffic-enforcement effort.

The additional patrols are aimed at reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use seat belts.
Last year police cited nearly 11,600 speeders and 3,000 reckless drivers and arrested 137 impaired drivers. Eleven people died in traffic accidents in Virginia last year. Ten of them weren't wearing seat belts.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says it expects slightly more than 1 million Virginians to travel during the holiday weekend. That's down 1.6 percent from 2012.

From Thursday through Monday, 31.2 million Americans will drive 50 miles or more to a beach, campground or other getaway, according to car lobbying group AAA. That's a small increase from last year but still well short of the record 37.3 million people who drove during the holiday in 2005.

Gas will cost slightly more this year. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline has risen 7 cents in the past week to $3.66 and could increase over the weekend. Gas averaged $3.64 last Memorial Day. Still, the price isn't expected to reach the 2011 Memorial Day average of $3.79.

The total number of holiday travelers should decline almost 1 percent to 34.8 million, AAA says, because fewer will choose to fly. AAA estimates that 2.3 million travelers will take to the skies, down 8 percent from last year.

"American travelers are experiencing fee fatigue and frustration with everything from higher fares to airport security. As a result, many are choosing road travel," Robert L. Darbelnet, CEO of AAA, said in a statement.

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