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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Fourth of July Checkpoints Designed to Curb Drunk Driving
Motorists Encouraged to Use Caution, Obey all Traffic Laws

RICHMOND - Virginia State Police and local law enforcement agencies will be out in full force during the Fourth of July holiday, cracking down on impaired drivers with an aggressive enforcement blitz. DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO) reminds Virginians to designate a sober driver before the Fourth of July celebration begins.

"Being in jail, or worse, being injured and in the hospital, is not the way you want to spend the Fourth of July holiday," said VAHSO Director John Saunders. "When you drive impaired, not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest can be really significant."

Virginia law enforcement officers will conduct concentrated DUI enforcement operations during the Fourth of July holiday as part of this year's regional Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign. Checkpoint Strikeforce is a media and enforcement campaign that includes high visibility sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols as a means to educate, identify and apprehend drunk drivers.

From October 1, 2008 through June 15, 2009, Checkpoint Strikeforce law enforcement activities in Virginia resulted in 1,293 DUI arrests, 1,246 safety belt citations and 387 child restraint citations. Also, 139 juveniles were cited for underage drinking, and there were 32,027 other arrests, citations and warnings.

Ten people died on Virginia's roads during the four-day Fourth of July holiday in 2008. Three of the 10 traffic deaths were alcohol-related. There were 18 deaths during the July 4th holiday in 2007 and 22 in 2006.

Nationwide, there were 200 traffic fatalities during the July 4th holiday period in 2007. Of those, 44 percent involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher.

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