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March 14, 2016
DMV Urges Virginians to Plan Ahead This St. Patrick's Day
Select a Sober Driver Before Drinking

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) urges drivers to drink responsibly and plan ahead this St. Patrick’s Day.

There were 17 alcohol-related crashes on March 17-18, 2015, exactly half the amount from 2014. DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, is hopeful this year’s numbers will be even lower.

“I’m thankful the amount of alcohol-related crashes decreased drastically during last year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but, by planning ahead, Virginia drivers can create an even safer environment for everyone,” Holcomb said. “Choosing a designated driver or another safe form of transportation could mean the difference between getting home safely – or taking a life.”

There are plenty of alternatives to driving while under the influence. Designating a sober driver before going out is one route to ensure a safe evening. Taxi services, public transportation, or a transportation network company are other options drivers have - all of which are much cheaper than getting a DUI.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average DUI costs $10,000. This amount could include, but is not limited to, a loss of income from jail time, legal fees, court costs, license reinstatement charges, mandatory substance abuse classes, and increased insurance rates.

When operating a motor vehicle in Virginia, you are legally considered to be driving under the influence if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. You still could be considered under the influence with a lower BAC if your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. The amount of alcohol it takes for an individual to reach impairment is dependent on factors such as gender, weight, age, body fat percentage, and medication usage.

According to a NHTSA study, drivers with a BAC of 0.05 percent or higher are twice as likely to crash compared to those at zero percent. The risk doubles again at 0.08 percent, making the likelihood of a crash four times greater than driving sober.

In 2015, 241 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Virginia.

A list of DMV-approved transportation services is available on the agency’s website.

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Date: March 14, 2016
Contact: Brandy Brubaker
(804) 367-6834