RICHMOND, VA – Virginia’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DUI enforcement and public education campaign is back on Virginia’s roads this holiday season to close out its 21st year of deterring drunk driving. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, formerly known as Checkpoint Strikeforce, combines law enforcement efforts with research-based outreach to remind Virginians to plan for a safe ride home after drinking.
“Our goal is to ensure that every Virginian gets home safely to their families this holiday season,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is back to remind folks to celebrate responsibly and plan a safe ride home if they’ve been drinking.”
In 2020, over a third (39%) of all U.S. traffic fatalities on Christmas Day involved alcohol-impaired drivers. On New Year’s Day 2020, alcohol-impared traffic fatalities accounted for nearly half (49%) of all U.S. traffic fatalities. In the Commonwealth alone, 445 Virginians were injured and 13 Virginians lost their lives because of alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving 2021 and New Year’s Day 2022 (11/25/2021-1/1/2022).
“The research is clear: the winter holidays are one of the most dangerous times of the year due to alcohol-related crashes. It’s crucial that everyone does their part to keep themselves and their families safe this holiday season by making a plan for a sober ride home if your festivities include alcohol,” said Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Acting Commissioner Linda Ford. “The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is proud to continue our collaboration with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to stop these tragedies at the source.”
Since the campaign’s launch in 2001, alcohol-related crashes have decreased by 40%, fatalities have decreased by 31%, and injuries have nearly halved. Last year in Virginia, over a fourth (26%) of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol, representing a 9.2% decrease from 2020. However, there is still more work to be done to end the epidemic of drunk driving once and for all.
Virginia State Police personnel will work through the holiday as part of Operation CARE – the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort. CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding, and failing to use occupant restraints. Virginia State Police’s participation in the program will begin Friday, December 23 and run through Monday, January 2 at midnight.
In addition, 120 Virginia law enforcement agencies will participate in the holiday wave of Virginia’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from Wednesday, December 14 through New Year’s Day. Law enforcement officers will conduct 536 individual saturation patrols and 95 sobriety checkpoints across the Commonwealth.
Complementing the enforcement, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is continuing its “Act Like It” public-awareness campaign. The campaign will be accompanied by this year’s new 30-second video reminding drivers that drinking and driving is irresponsible. To highlight the role of law enforcement, the traffic safety campaign’s “man-baby” character and his friend are met by a police officer outside a restaurant who commends the two for planning a safe ride home rather than risking a DUI. The campaign video reminds viewers that if you’re old enough to drink, act like it. Don’t risk a DUI. Virginians will see the campaigns messaging on their TVs and social media apps, during sports games, and at restaurants and shops throughout the state.