Most everyone can agree that driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious problem not only for Virginia but for the nation. According to the Virginia DMV, alcohol was involved in a full one-third of all traffic-related fatalities last year. To make matters worse, alcohol-related traffic deaths have been rising over the last three years, and last year there were nearly 29,000 DUI convictions in Virginia alone. Clearly Virginia residents are not getting the message that drinking and driving don’t mix.
In order to address this problem, Virginia’s Governor Tim Kaine recently announced the latest crackdown aimed at getting drunk drivers off the road. With the support of Virginia State Police and local law enforcement officers, the 2008 Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign has been launched – the seventh year running for this initiative.
DUI Campaign to Focus on Rural Drivers in Virginia
Part of this year’s Checkpoint Strikeforce initiative will focus on keeping rural roads safe from drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 55% of all traffic fatalities occur on rural roads, and for areas of Virginia where driving on rural roads is the norm – the statistic is even more sobering. Adding to the problem is a perception among drivers who drink that they can escape DUI checkpoints by avoiding major roads and highways and making their way home via back roads.
Unfortunately, this logic can be dangerous for not only the driver but for other road users who could be injured by the intoxicated driver. Sharp curves, narrow roads, trees and shrubs that limit the line of sight, and varying speeds all make rural driving more hazardous than driving on an open road. This year law enforcement officers will attempt to get the message out to drivers that drinking and driving is never acceptable, even on seemingly quiet rural roads.
In order to catch as many offenders as possible, state and local law enforcement officers will hold at least one sobriety checkpoint or saturation patrol each week for the remainder of 2008. However, the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign isn’t all about punishing those who drive under the influence. The campaign also strives to better educate drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as let them know the consequences of a DUI should they be caught. It would be far preferable to prevent drivers from drinking in the first place rather than expending state and local resources on trying to nab them after the fact. And indeed far preferable to prevent a driver from taking the life of an innocent person while under the influence.
If you or someone you love is unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident or become the victim of a drunken driver, then we want to hear from you. Please contact the Northern Virginia law offices of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas today and let us work with you to secure the justice and compensation that you deserve.