NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Law enforcement across the Commonwealth is cracking down on drunk driving.
It’s part of Virginia’s 18th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign.
Labor Day Weekend is just around the corner and that means there will be more people on our roads, and more of a chance for people to drive drunk.
Drivers can expect to see more law enforcement and checkpoints on the roads, and state officials want to emphasize that driving drunk is 100% avoidable.
“When they leave that place that they are drinking and they get behind the wheel, if they knew when they left that they were going to crash into a member of their own family and cause their death, would they get behind the wheel?” said Suffolk Police Department Major Danny Buie
He said if the answer is no, then you should not get behind the wheel.
His message is only part of the 18th annual Virginia Checkpoint Strikeforce
campaign with hundreds of other officers in the state.
“When people are out drinking and driving and somebody is killed in a traffic accident because of it, it doesn’t matter the city you’re from, it affects families the same,” he added
In a 30-second ad put together for the strike force, the theme this year is to remind drivers to act responsibly like an adult when making decisions after a night of drinking.
“Every parent who leaves the house, every child who leaves the house, we just take it for granted that they are going to come home that evening. But I can tell you that an average of 2.5 will not return that day,” said Director of Highway Safety for the Virginia DMV John Saunders.
Saunders said the statistics say everything.
Last year during Labor Day Weekend, state troopers arrested 72 drunk drivers, averaging a DUI arrest every 80 minutes.
And more than 4,000 people were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes.
But if that doesn’t make you think twice, Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney Colin Stolle says the consequences should.
“You’re looking at having to pay to have an ignition interlock placed on your vehicle, You’re looking at having your drivers license suspended, you’re looking at paying fines up to $2,500.”
In the video, you’ll notice they used only males. That’s because 66.5 percent of people convicted were males from the ages of 21 to 35.
They want to target that demographic in hopes of educating them on the consequences of doing something like drinking and driving.
More drunk driving facts:
– In 2018, 278 persons were killed on Virginia’s roadways in alcohol-related crashes, accounting for over 33% (33.94%) of Virginia’s total traffic fatalities. This represents an 12.1% increase from 2017 when 248 individuals died in alcohol-related traffic crashes.
– In 2018, 4,475 persons were injured on Virginia’s roadways in alcohol-related traffic crashes, a 1% increase from 2017.
Watch the full ad here