A campaign aimed at educating Virginia drivers about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol began on Aug. 26 and will run on holiday weekends for the rest of the year. Known as Checkpoint Strikeforce, the campaign also has an enforcement element and steps up patrols to reduce drunk driving accidents.

2019 figures

There were more than 18,000 DUI convictions in Virginia in 2019, and more than 30% of deadly motor vehicle accidents had alcohol as a factor. Over Labor Day weekend in 2019, 76 people were taken into custody over by state police for drunk driving, and 264 people died that year in traffic accidents that involved alcohol impairment.

Checkpoint Strikeforce in 2020

The first period of enforcement for the campaign in 2020 ran from Aug. 26 through the weekend of Labor Day. That same weekend, state police also participated in the traffic safety program CARE. This is state-sponsored and focuses on other dangers in addition to driving under the influence, including not using seat belts and speeding. Other holidays that the campaign will focus on include New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving and Halloween.

Checkpoint Strikeforce was created in 2002, and since that year, deaths from accidents in which alcohol impairment was a factor have gone down by more than 26%. Injuries from the same type of accidents have been reduced by almost 50%.

People who are facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may want to contact an attorney to discuss their options. The consequences of a conviction go beyond legal penalties in some cases and could have repercussions in a person’s community and family as well as on their career. Legal penalties could include a suspended license, fines and jail time. An attorney may be able to assist in working on a strategy for dealing with the charges. In some situations, it might be possible to get the charges dismissed or reduced.