'I don’t want you to have that pain’: Local father urges sober driving after losing son to drunk driver

Law enforcement, MADD team up to crack down on drunk driving

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Drunk driving is the leading killer on U.S. roads and the risk increases dramatically between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

“As a parent, I can’t explain my pain to you. All I know is, I don’t want you to have that pain,” said Greg Estep, of Wise County, who lost his son because of a drunk driver.

That's why this holiday season, law enforcement agencies are cracking down.

“There are no excuses for driving impaired. None,” said Howard Hall, Roanoke County Police Chief.

The Roanoke County Police Department joins nearly a dozen agencies that announced Wednesday they will be targeting impaired drivers this holiday season.

"We're using overtime to put additional officers in the field," Hall said.

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for 29% of all traffic deaths in 2018, which Hall said is down about 20% over the past few decades.

"Until that number is zero, we've got a lot more work to do. There's no reason people should be dying from impaired driving," said Chris Konschak, program director of MADD Virginia.

Police are putting out a warning for anyone who chooses to drink and drive.

“That person’s going to go to jail. Probably not where you want to be for the holidays, I would think,” Hall said.

If that warning isn’t enough, a father who knows the consequences all too well is hoping his plea will help make a difference.

"Use good judgment. You have to. Do the right thing," Estep said.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving encourages you to plan ahead by designating a sober driver or using a ride share service.

Red ribbons to tie onto your car to spread awareness are available at the ABC store.

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