NORFOLK, Va. — The holidays can only be merry if they're safe.
That's why, for the 21st year running, Virginia's Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign (formerly known as Checkpoint Strikeforce) is cracking down on drunk driving.
In those years, alcohol-related crashes have gone down by 40%, and deaths have decreased by 31%, according to the state. That doesn't mean police officers can let up on their vigilance, though.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin shared a reminder about the campaign Tuesday morning.
His office said in 2020, 39% of traffic deaths nationwide involved drivers who had been drinking. On New Year's Day, 49% of traffic deaths involved drunk drivers.
"Our goal is to ensure that every Virginian gets home safely to their families this holiday season," Youngkin wrote.
That means police teams across the commonwealth will be especially vigilant from Dec. 14 through New Year's Day, with increased "saturation patrols" and sobriety checkpoints. State troopers will be especially dialed in between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.
It's always important to plan a sober ride home when you've been drinking, but in the winter months, when there can be ice to contend with, good reflexes are especially important on the roads.
DMV Acting Commissioner Linda Ford said Virginia's roads are partnering with Washington's to stop people from getting behind the wheel after they've had alcohol.
“The research is clear: the winter holidays are one of the most dangerous times of the year due to alcohol-related crashes," she said. "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."