Virginia Starting Increased DUI Enforcement This Friday

Supported by the 17th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce outreach campaign, increased enforcement will take place from Aug. 17 through Labor Day weekend and resume periodically through "target moments" such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Eve.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles joined with local and state police to preview increased enforcement that begins Aug. 17 to combat the rise in drunk driving deaths during Labor Day weekend. Supported by the 17th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce outreach campaign, the enforcement will take place from then through Labor Day weekend and resume periodically through "target moments" such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Eve.

"Virginia is a leader in traffic safety, and the work of Checkpoint Strikeforce is a critical part of our efforts," Northam said Aug. 13. "While we have continued to reduce the amount of fatalities on our roads, those statistics are cold comfort to the families who have lost loved ones to drunk driving. The work we do over the next few months will be to save lives, plain and simple."

Virginia recorded 248 deaths in 2017 drinking-related driving accidents, which was almost 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state that year. Another 18,701 people were convicted of a DUI in the state and, during last year's Labor Day weekend alone, Virginia roads saw 703 alcohol-impaired traffic injuries.

Checkpoint Strikeforce is a joint effort between public and private partners that works to prevent fatalities through a surround-sound persuasion campaign and high-visibility enforcement to remind likely offenders to get a safe ride home. Partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" enforcement mobilization, about 89 law enforcement agencies will operate 94 checkpoints and 612 saturation patrols from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3.

"Nearly four out of ten persons killed in drunk driving crashes in the Commonwealth last year were ages 18-35. Those are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters—all gone before their time," said Virginia State Police Col. Gary T. Settle. "Troopers and other law enforcement professionals are on the roads every day with the goal of protecting Virginians, and that solemn duty will be front of mind during the upcoming high-visibility periods."

Virginia's Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign is supported by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to the nonprofit and Falls Church-based Washington Regional Alcohol Program.

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