IN CASE you got too much sun during the July 4 holiday, let’s take a look at the dark side of driving.

At the midpoint of the year, there have been 58,103 crashes statewide, with 29,871 injuries and 378 deaths, according to preliminary Department of Motor Vehicle figures. Those numbers are down across the board compared with the same period last year (63,796 crashes, 32,442 injuries, 399 deaths).

Here is a breakdown regarding the primary culprits in serious crashes so far this year:

Speeding: 11,415 crashes; 6,216 injuries; 161 deaths.

Distracted driving: 10,653 crashes; 5,934 injuries; 48 deaths.

Alcohol-related: 3,246 crashes; 1,990 injuries; 67 deaths.

Driver distraction comes in many flavors, such as fiddling with the radio, talking to passengers, eating, reading and, yes, cellphones. Tracking cellphone distractions proves difficult, but DMV is trying to account for this specific form of distraction with its own categories.

So far this year, cellphone-using drivers have been involved in 756 crashes, which caused 417 injuries and five deaths, according to DMV. The figures on texting-related incidents show there have been 72 crashes, 30 injuries and one death.

Back to the grind

Drivers got a reprieve from work zones over the Independence Day holiday.

But this week it’s back to the grind, as work on area projects reignites.

Three big projects will lead to lane closures and delays throughout the week, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Various lane closures are on tap for southbound Interstate 95 in Stafford County this week as crews prepare to make a slight shift of the interstate lanes just north of the U.S. 17 exit, for work on the southbound Rappahannock River crossing project.

A single-lane closure is scheduled to be in place from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, a single lane will be closed at 9 p.m., then another lane will be closed at 10 p.m. Around midnight, crews will shift the lanes. Two lanes will remain closed until 4:30 a.m. Thursday. At that point, just one lane will be remain closed until 10 a.m.

Traffic will begin using the “new pattern early Thursday morning,” according to VDOT.

There also will be a single-lane closure in that area from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Thursday and then again from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday.

The $132 million crossing project will add three lanes in the median of I–95 from U.S. 17 to State Route 3. Work on the project is estimated to be finished in May 2022.

To the north of that project, work on the Courthouse Road widening and interchange projects will impact travel on that road this week.

The busy road will be reduced to alternating, one-way travel along several sections all week.

VDOT says to expect brief delays between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and then from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Work on the projects is expected to be completed in July 2020.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436 sshenk@freelancestar.com

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