The holiday season is usually a festive time, but it can also be a dangerous time on the roads. Police have stepped up patrols across Virginia, trying to catch people driving while impaired.
The added patrols are a part of Virginia’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. 145 agencies across the commonwealth are taking part, with 646 saturation patrols and 71 sobriety checkpoints planned through New Year’s Day.
Last year, 432 Virginians were injured and 23 people lost their lives between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office. That represents a 77 percent increase in fatalities from the previous holiday season.
“It’s sort of ironic because it’s a very happy season for many people,” said Michael Goodove, head of the Southside chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). “But it can turn tragic so quickly. And that’s why so important to exercise a higher degree of vigilance during this time.”
Goodove lost his brother in a drunk driving crash more than 30 years ago. And ever since, he’s been advocating for laws and other efforts to get drunk drivers off the roads.
“In society we have problems where we search and search and search for solutions, with impaired driving we have the solution for it and there a lot of resources available,” he said. There’s no excuse for it now.”
The Virginia State Police recommends these steps for people planning to attend holiday parties this weekend:
- Plan ahead – designate a sober driver, call a friend, or utilize public transportation, cabs or ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft
- Don’t let your friends drive drunk
- Remain alert for impaired drivers on highways..and dial #77 to reach the nearest Virginia State Police emergency communications center. The agency says one call could save someone’s life.
Goodove said it also comes down to personal responsibility.
“They wear the seat belts, they practice safe driving stuff,” he said. “I think we all know it. … The time has come and it’s overdue that we should implement these tools.”
Alcohol isn’t the only cause of impairment that’s concerning officials. There’s a growing number of incidents from driving while being impaired by drugs like marijuana. Goodove said that will likely be a focus of MADD and law enforcement in the new year.
Article by: Samuel King | View the full story on WTKR.com