Virginia ramping up statewide checkpoints during holiday season to curb impaired driving

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/WFXR) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced Virginia’s 19th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign and enforcement effort will be ramping up on the Commonwealth’s roads during the holiday season to help curb alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

According to data from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), 253 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes on Virginia’s roadways through Dec. 8, which is up from the 249 alcohol-related traffic fatalities recorded during the same period in 2019.

During last year’s Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period, nearly one-third, or 32 percent, of all traffic deaths in Virginia involved drunk drivers.

“At every stage of this pandemic, Virginians have worked together to keep each other safe, and this holiday season is no different,” said Northam. “While your travel plans may look different this year it is important to keep your guard up, even if you are just making short trips near home. If you plan to drink, make sure you have a sober ride—Virginia has zero-tolerance for impaired driving.”

As part of a partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national enforcement mobilization period — which is scheduled from Friday, Dec. 18, to Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 — officials say state and local authorities will conduct more than 700 saturation patrols and almost 100 sobriety checkpoints throughout the Commonwealth.

“Although fewer vehicles have been on the road during the pandemic, our data shows no decrease in the devastation caused by selfish drivers who choose to get behind the wheel when impaired,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Many of us will be spending the holidays at home this year, but if you are going out and your celebration involves alcohol, please make a plan for a safe ride home before you start drinking.”

Complementing the high-visibility enforcement efforts, Virginia’s Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign will be running a surround-sound ad campaign called “Act Like It.”

The advertising campaign is geared toward Virginia males ages 21–35, the demographic that, according to research, is most likely to drive after drinking. Ads will reach them where they spend their time—on social media platforms, gaming sites, streaming music and TV, and more—to remind viewers that drinking and driving is irresponsible.

“If you are old enough to drink, act like it,” Northam’s office said in a statement on Monday, Dec. 21. “Get a safe ride home.”

The 30-second spot is updated from the original version developed in 2018 to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s campaign also includes Spanish-language ads online and on streaming radio.

To review alternative transportation options during the holidays and to see the latest ad, visit ActLikeIt.org

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