RICHMOND – With the holiday season upon us and plenty of festive occasions to attend, the Virginia State Police are reminding all partygoers that the best way to survive the holidays is to drive to save lives.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 people in the U.S. die every day in an alcohol-related vehicle crash - which translates to one person every 53 minutes. Drunk driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the past three decades; however, the chance of being involved in an alcohol-impaired crash is still one in three over the course of a lifetime. Alcohol-related crash deaths and damages contribute to a cost of $52 billion per year.
Last year, nationwide, there were 10,265 deaths* resulting from alcohol-impaired traffic crashes, with 241 of those deaths occurring in Virginia.** Another 4,917 persons were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes across the Commonwealth.
“The fact that alcohol-related deaths and injuries on Virginia’s highways are decreasing is encouraging, but we still need all drivers to get the message,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime. You could kill yourself or someone else, or get a DUI and go to jail. We need every driver to make smart, safe and sober decisions. Let's drive to save lives in these remaining days of 2016."
It’s illegal in Virginia to drive over the limit of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL). And it might not take as much alcohol as one might think to get there. So the safest approach is to only drive sober. If you plan on drinking at a holiday party, bar, or restaurant, let someone else do the driving – a sober friend, a taxi, public transportation or a Transportation Network Company, like Uber or Lyft.
To detect and deter impaired driving, the Virginia State Police is once again participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign by increasing patrols and participating in DUI checkpoints with local police and sheriff’s offices across the Commonwealth.
In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, it is just as important for everyone to be alert and report a drunk driver to state police by dialing #77 on a cell phone. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely. “We’ve got to work together to make our roads safer this December and year-round,” Flaherty said.
If you plan to drink, then plan to get home safely:
•Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash.
•If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
•If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or just stay put.