Richmond, VA– Today, marks the launch of Virginia’s 2022 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement and public education campaign. Formerly known as CheckPoint Strikeforce, the campaign is in its 21st year of reminding Virginians of the dangers of impaired driving. The enforcement period of Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over will take place through Labor Day and resume throughout the 2022 winter holiday season.
“Given the rise in alcohol-related crashes, it’s more important than ever that we continue our efforts to emphasize and practice safe driving habits to protect motorists traveling on Virginia’s roadways,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “With more people on the roads this Labor Day weekend, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over will work alongside state and local law enforcement partners to remind Virginians to plan a safe ride home if they are drinking.”
Last year in Virginia, over a fourth (26%) of all traffic fatalities involved drunk driving representing a 9.2% decrease from 2020. However, the number of alcohol-related crashes in Virginia increased by 1.9% and injuries caused by those crashes rose b y 6% in 2021. Nearly 16,000 people were convicted of a DUI in Virginia in 2021–a 13.4% increase from 2020.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over reflects a shared commitment to stop impaired driving at the source,” said Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Acting Commissioner Linda Ford. “The message to Virginians is simple: If you’re old enough to drink, act like it. Do your part to save lives.”
The surround-sound awareness campaign and high-visibility enforcement reminds Virginians to get a safe ride home after drinking or face arrest. The public safety messages of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign and firsthand accounts of trauma care partners, along with the law enforcement, play a critical role in helping keep impaired drivers off the road.
“On a daily basis, my colleagues and I work tirelessly in the emergency room, operating room, and intensive care units to save the lives of those directly impacted by alcohol-related crashes,” said Dr. Michel Aboutanos who serves as Medical Director of VCU Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center. “The devastating consequences of impaired driving at felt across Virginia communities, but the are entirely preventable. We must address the problem of alcohol-related crashes at the root and ensure that no one is getting behind the wheel after drinking.”
“The nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program is proud to partner with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign as we encourage all drivers to plan a safe ride home before a night of drinking,” said Kurt Erickson, President and CEO or the Virginia-based Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). “Since the campaign’s start in 2001, we have seen significant progress in mitigating the epidemic that is drunk driving. Alcohol-related crashes have decreased by 40%, fatalities have decreased by 31%, and injuries have nearly halved.”
Virginia State Police personnel will work through the holiday as part of Operation CARE – the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort. CARE is a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding, and falling to use occupant restraints. Virginia State Police’s participation in the program will begin Friday, September 2nd and run through Monday, September 5th.
In addition, 92 Virginia law enforcement agencies will participate in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign though Labor Day. Law enforcement officers will conduct 383 individual saturation patrols and 31 sobriety checkpoints across the Commonwealth.
Complementing the enforcement, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is continuing its “Act Like It” public-awareness campaign. The campaign will be accompanied by a new 30-second video that reminds drivers that drinking and driving is irresponsible. To highlight the role of law enforcement, the traffic safety campaign’s “ma-baby” character and his friend are met by a police officer outside a restaurant who commends the two for planning a safe ride home rather than risking a DUI. The campaign video reminds viewers that if you’re old enough to drink, act like it. Don’t risk a DUI. The latest video can be viewed here.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is a high-visibility enforcement campaign aimed at preventing impaired driving and improving safety for all road users through awareness messaging and increased law enforcement presence on the road. Virginia’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is supported by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to the Virginia-based nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP).