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VIPD Says It And Highway Safety Will Have Zero Tolerance For Drunk Drivers For 4th of July … And The Summer

FREDERIKSTED — As summer approaches, The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk driving.

This five-day, high-visibility campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is a partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to curb impaired driving and save lives. June 30-July 4 (Emancipation & Independence Day), law enforcement partners nationwide will show zero tolerance for drunk driving.

Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with checkpoints and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce the toll of drunk driving.

In accordance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 35,092 people died in traffic crashes in 2015 in the United States, including an estimated 10,265 people who were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater).  Among the people killed in these drunk driving crashes, 67 percent (6,865) were in crashes where at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 or higher.

During the Fiscal year 2016, there was a total of 1,492 crashes in the St. Croix District, 36 of those crashes are attributed to impaired driving. There were 6 traffic fatalities within the district.

Two of those fatalities were related to impaired driving.  For comparison, there were eight (8) traffic fatalities in the fiscal year 2015, with one being associated with impaired driving. Troubling enough, this is an increase.

In every state, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. The Office of Highway Safety wants to remind the US Virgin Islands drivers that it’s not a recommendation; it’s the law. And during the enforcement period starting June 30, there will be a special emphasis on drunk-driving enforcement.

Local drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles, DUI checkpoints, and increased messaging about this reckless, preventable crime. During fiscal year 2016 there were 57 impaired driving arrests that were made; 23 more than the previous year.

The VIPD, through the Office of Highway Safety will continue to promote a zero tolerance for such behaviors that can intermittently save lives.

In the month of June and July, of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10 arrests (18% of total) of them had already been convicted of at least one drunk-driving offense. 

Drunk driving is preventable: “All it takes is a little planning ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, Don’t Drink and Drive.”

If you choose to break the law, The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) will see you before you see them. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tonya Petrus at (340) 772-3025 or email at K’tonya.petrus@vi.gov.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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