RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia launched its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign on Monday.

The campaign has been in place for 22 years to remind Virginians about the consequences of driving while impaired.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin kicked off the campaign at an event in Richmond alongside first responders.

According to the governor’s office, there were 6,910 alcohol-related crashes last year in Virginia. Those crashes resulted in 4,174 people injured and 274 deaths. In 2022, DUI related fatalities rose 11% compared to 2021.

“The increase in drunk driving fatalities underscores how important it is to plan a safe ride home before you drink to protect your life and the lives of your fellow Virginians,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “State and local law enforcement will be coordinating with the Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over campaign to put a stop to these tragedies before they happen.”

More than 150 Virginia law enforcement agencies will participate in the Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over campaign through Labor Day. There will be 476 individual saturation patrols, and 100 sobriety checkpoints will be conducted across the Commonwealth.

The campaign utilizes public safety messages and high-visibility enforcement to discourage impaired persons from driving.

A survey conducted by Lake Research Partners indicates the Virginia drivers most likely to get behind the wheel after drinking are men between the ages of 21 and 35.

Additionally, the research showed that 63% of the men surveyed admitted to driving after having a few drinks or riding with a driver who had a few drinks.

Since the program’s inception, alcohol-related crashes have decreased by 38%, fatalities have fallen by 23%, and there has been a 50% decrease in injuries. 

The Virginia State Police will participate in the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (CARE) over the holiday weekend.

CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding, and failing to use occupant restraints.