Before the holiday parties kick off this weekend, the Virginia State Police are reminding drivers to drive safely and responsibly.
About 28 people in the U.S. die every day in an alcohol-related vehicle crash – which translates to one person every 53 minutes –according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Though drunk driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last 30 years, the chance of being involved in an accident involving alcohol use is still one in three over the course of a lifetime. Drunk driving accidents, deaths and damages cost $52 billion per year, according to the Virginia State Police.
In 2015, there were 10,265 deaths resulting from accidents involving alcohol with 241 of those deaths occurring in Virginia. More than 4,900 people were also injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Virginia.
“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 said in a news release. “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.”
In Virginia, it’s illegal to drive over the limit of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL). Police said that even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the likelihood of crashing, so the only guaranteed strategy is to drive sober. If you plan on drinking, let someone else drive – a sober friend, taxi, public transportation or use Uber or Lyft.
Throughout the holidays, Virginia State Police are participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign by increasing patrols and instituting DUI checkpoints with local police departments.
State police recommend that if you see an impaired driver, report the driver to state police by dialing #77 on a cell phone. Police also encourage residents to make sure their friends and family members don’t drive impaired.
“We’ve got to work together to make our roads safer this December and year-round,” Flaherty said in the release.