Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and members of the state’s law enforcement agencies are working to reduce impaired driving over the holiday season.

The governor on Tuesday announced that the 116 Virginia law enforcement agencies will complement each other and support the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign.

The Checkpoint Strikeforce will send officers to regions that are most at-risk and create 55 sobriety checkpoints across the Commonwealth, according to Northam’s office.

“Keep your family, your community, and yourself safe by not drinking and driving this holiday season,” said Northam. “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.”

According to the most recent data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, alcohol-related crashes accounted for 6,624 crashes in Virginia in 2020 alone. Those accidents resulted in 272 deaths.

Law enforcement officials involved in the efforts will work from December 15 through New Year’s Day in an effort to decrease the incidents.

“The holidays traditionally pose an increased risk for fatalities involving alcohol-impaired driving,” added 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. 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.”

According to Northam, since 2001 when the Checkpoint Strikeforce began, alcohol-related accidents have dropped 41.2 percent and deaths have decreased by 24 percent. There were 3,986 injuries in 2020, compared to 8,211 in 2001.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Police Officer” by Office of Public Affairs. CC BY 2.0.