Virginia Revs Up Statewide Checkpoint Strikeforce Campaign to Bring Impaired Driving to a Standstill This Holiday Season
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the Commonwealth surpass previous year despite reduced traffic amid pandemic
Richmond, Va.—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Commonwealth’s 19th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign and enforcement effort is ramping up on Virginia’s roads this holiday travel season to help curb alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
According to figures from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), 253 individuals died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes on Virginia’s roadways through December 8, 2020, compared to 249 alcohol-related traffic fatalities recorded during the same period in 2019. During last year’s Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period, nearly one-third, or 32 percent, of all traffic deaths in Virginia involved drunk drivers.
“At every stage of this pandemic, Virginians have worked together to keep each other safe, and this holiday season is no different,” said Governor Northam. “While your travel plans may look different this year it is important to keep your guard up, even if you are just making short trips near home. If you plan to drink, make sure you have a sober ride—Virginia has zero tolerance for impaired driving.”
In partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national enforcement mobilization period from December 18, 2020 to January 1, 2021, state and local law enforcement agencies will be conducting more than 700 saturation patrols and nearly 100 sobriety checkpoints throughout Virginia.
“We all have a shared responsibility to prevent alcohol-related fatalities on our roads,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “As we celebrate this holiday season, I urge Virginians to take care of each other by designating sober drivers and never allowing friends or family drive after drinking.”
“Although fewer vehicles have been on the road during the pandemic, our data shows no decrease in the devastation caused by selfish drivers who choose to get behind the wheel when impaired,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Many of us will be spending the holidays at home this year, but if you are going out and your celebration involves alcohol, please make a plan for a safe ride home before you start drinking.”
Complementing the high-visibility enforcement efforts, Virginia’s Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign will be running a surround-sound ad campaign called “Act Like It.” The advertising campaign is geared toward Virginia males ages 21–35, the demographic that, according to research, is most likely to drive after drinking. Ads will reach them where they spend their time—on social media platforms, gaming sites, streaming music and TV, and more—to remind viewers that drinking and driving is irresponsible. If you are old enough to drink, act like it. Get a safe ride home.
The 30-second spot is updated from the original version developed in 2018 to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s campaign also includes Spanish-language ads online and on streaming radio. To review alternative transportation options during the holidays and to see the latest ad, visit ActLikeIt.org.
Checkpoint Strikeforce is part of a research-based multi-state, zero-tolerance initiative designed to get impaired drivers off the roads using checkpoints and patrols along with education about the dangers and consequences of driving while intoxicated. Virginia’s Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign is supported by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to the nonprofit and Falls Church-based Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP).