(WFXR)– As you’re making plans for your New Year’s Eve celebrations don’t forget to think about your first ride home of 2023.
Safe Auto says crashes with drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor skyrocketed by more than seventy percent.
“Remember if you feel different you drive differently,” said Rich Jacobs, Drive Smart Virginia spokesperson.
Jacobs says winter holidays are one of the most dangerous times of the year due to alcohol-related crashes.
“There is no excuse for driving under the influence now. We have ride-share services taxis, you can call your mom, or you can phone a friend,” said Jacobs.
According to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office, in the commonwealth, 445 Virginians were injured, and 13 others lost their lives because of alcohol-related crashes between thanksgiving 2021 and new year’s day 2022.
“93 percent of 21 to 35 years old young male drivers in Virginia, find it important to plan a safe way home if they go out, but less than half routinely do,” says Kurt Erickson, Project Director of the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled over the campaign.
Erickson says a third of drunk driving victims are non-intoxicated drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. That’s why the campaign is ringing in the new year with added safety precautions.
“Between December 14th and New Year, 120 police agencies and sheriff’s offices will conduct 536 individual saturation patrols and 95 sobriety checkpoints,” said Erickson.
In addition, Virginia State Police will also be on the streets trying to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries caused by impaired driving and speeding.
According to data from the Department of Motor Vehicles, between Thanksgiving and December 26, there were 321 total reported alcohol-related crashes, with 11 fatalities and 33 serious injuries. It might be shocking, but Erickson says national trends show drunk fatalities have decreased overall.
However, the number of drunk driving crashes, injuries, and arrests has increased.
“If you look at DUI crashes in Roanoke and Salem last year, they both went down that is great news, but in Roanoke County, drunk driving crashes didn’t just go up. It went up by 71 percent and drunk driving injuries these 100 percent preventable injuries more than doubled,” said Erickson.
So remember, call an uber, a friend, or have a designated driver.
Most of all Erickson says if you are old enough to drink then act like it.