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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 13, 2007
Media Contact: Bill Foy
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

April Marks Alcohol Awareness Month
Thirty-four percent of Virginia highway fatalities involve alcohol

RICHMOND - The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Virginia Highway Safety Office urge all Virginians to do their part to support Alcohol Awareness Month this April - by refusing to drink and drive. As the weather begins to warm up, more motorists are on the road, many risking their lives and the lives of others by driving intoxicated.

"I encourage families, friends and community leaders to talk about the dangers of drunk driving," said DMV Commissioner D.B. Smit. "Impairment behind the wheel begins with one alcoholic drink - whether it's liquor, wine or beer."

Statistics show:

  • Alcohol was a factor in 374 Virginia highway deaths in 2006. That's 39 percent of all fatalities.
  • Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., three out of ten drivers are intoxicated.
  • 28,132 Virginia drivers were convicted of DUI in 2006.

"Virginia has some of the nation's toughest laws when it comes to drunk driving," says Smit. "Bottom line…if you drink and drive in this state, you'll eventually be caught and prosecuted for DUI."

Another cause for concern on Virginia highways: the rising average blood-alcohol-content (BAC) of drinking drivers. In the past five years, BAC figures increased more than three-percent, from .1376 to .1411.

DMV encourages all Virginia motorists to pause this month and reflect on the dangers associated with drunk driving. To protect yourself and others during Alcohol Awareness Month, and throughout the year, you should:

  • Take the keys from an impaired driver. Help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.
  • Always buckle up. It remains your best defense against other impaired drivers.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.

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