ROANOKE, Va. – 2018 saw a drastic increase in alcohol-related traffic deaths in Virginia and public officials want to make sure 2019 doesn't bring another increase to this grim statistic.
Virginia's 18th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce DUI law enforcement and public education campaign is now underway.
The campaign has an increased checkpoint presence from Aug. 16 through Labor Day weekend and resumes during heavy-drinking holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.
"Last year, Virginia saw a 12% (12.1%) increase in alcohol-related traffic deaths on the Commonwealth’s roadways. Such an increase should alarm every Virginian, as it's both disturbing and unacceptable," said Virginia State Police Col. Gary T. Settle. "I can assure you that all Virginia troopers will be actively participating in this year's Checkpoint Strikeforce enforcement efforts alongside our local law enforcement partners. Such a life-threatening trend only motivates every one of us even more to protect the lives of Virginians."
New research shows that 49% of men in Virginia ages 21-35 have driven after having a few drinks or been driven by someone who had a few drinks.
In 2018, 278 people died in alcohol-related crashes, the highest in five years, is up from 248 in 2017.
Checkpoint Strikeforce is sponsoring an advertising campaign called "Act Like It."