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Virginia pushing Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign to reduce drunk driving during holidays

There will be 55 sobriety checkpoints across Virginia and 116 law enforcement agencies will be working to keep people safe from drunk drivers.

RICHMOND, Va. — Author's Note: The above video is on file from Aug. 21, 2019.

Many people will be celebrating during the holiday season, and local leaders want to make sure Virginians are staying safe while doing so.

Gov. Ralph Northam wants to continue pushing the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign in an effort to raise awareness and put an end to drunk driving during the holidays.

“Keep your family, your community, and yourself safe by not drinking and driving this holiday season,” Northam wrote. “You can always designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use public transportation and rideshare services. We owe our thanks to law enforcement professionals for keeping people safe this holiday season. Together, we can reduce impaired driving and save lives.”

There are 116 Virginia law enforcement agencies that are participating in the holiday campaign through New Year's Day, 2022. They will be helping people to make responsible decisions by using research-based messaging.

RELATED: Virginia Law Enforcement: Plan a safe way home New Year's Eve

There will be a heavier police presence through Jan. 1, patrolling high-risk areas with 55 sobriety checkpoints across the state.

In 2020, there were 272 Virginians who died in vehicle crashes involving alcohol. While there has been a steady decline in those types of crashes since the campaign launched in 2001, "don't drink and drive" is a simple reminder that could save a life.

“The holidays traditionally pose an increased risk for fatalities involving alcohol-impaired driving,” said Richard D. Holcomb, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the governor’s highway safety representative. 

"Our goal is to ensure each and every Virginian gets home safely to their families this holiday season," he said. "Between Thanksgiving 2020 and New Year’s Day 2021 alone, 14 Virginians lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes. Our message is simple: as you celebrate with loved ones this holiday season, don’t put lives at risk by getting behind the wheel after drinking.”

Virginia State Police will also be working throughout the holidays to help prevent traffic crashes caused by drunk driving. It's part of a nationwide project, the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (CARE).

In addition to the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, they are encouraging people to visit the ActLikeIt website to learn about alternative transportation options.