December 17, 2015
Be a Lifesaver and Give the Gift of a Designated Driver
5,085 Reasons Why Not to Drive Drunk or Buzzed This Holiday Season
RICHMOND – Be a designated, sober driver this holiday season and be part of the Drive to Save Lives campaign. During the final two weeks of 2015, Virginia State Police is joining law enforcement across the country in traffic safety initiatives to deter and stop impaired driving. The weekend before Christmas beginning Friday, Dec. 18, and continuing through Monday, Dec. 21, is designated as the 2015 National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend by Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). As part of this safety campaign and to maximize enforcement efforts, Virginia State Police and local law enforcement will focus patrols during time periods when alcohol consumption and holiday parties are most prevalent.
“I can give you more than 5,000 reasons why you should designate a sober driver,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “In 2014, 4,834 drunk drivers were arrested by Virginia State Troopers. Another 251 persons were killed on Virginia’s highways in alcohol-related crashes*. There are no excuses. You have a choice. Choose to designate a driver and do your part to drive to save lives this holiday season.”
Every year during the holidays, there is an increase in drunk-driving related fatalities and crashes across the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in December 2013, there were 733 lives lost in traffic crashes because at least one driver or motorcycle operator had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 or higher. Of the 733 deaths, 23 occurred on Christmas Day in 2013 nationwide.
Virginia State Police are also participating in sobriety checkpoints and roving saturation patrols as part of the DUI enforcement campaigns Checkpoint Strikeforce and the national campaign Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, which runs Dec. 16 through Jan. 1, 2016.
“Remember, drinking and driving is never an option,” says Flaherty.
Drivers and passengers have many alternatives to arrive home safely. If you plan to attend a party during the holidays, please remember:
- Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a friend, call family, call a cab or use public transportation.
- If you know someone has been drinking. Do not let them drive. Arrange another safe way home.
- If you believe you see an impaired driver on the road, call police. Remain alert and don’t hesitate to dial #77 to notify your nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center. Your actions could save someone’s life.
* Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO), DMV