FREDERIKSTED – As summer winds down, the Virgin Islands Police Department’s Office of Highway Safety is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk driving.
A 20-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.
From August 21 to September 7 (Labor 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.
And what a toll it is. In 2013, there were 10,076 people killed nationally in drunk–driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities. If you have experienced a reckless or drunk driver on the road and need the assistance of a legal team, hiring a traffic lawyer for your defense.
Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs of .08 or higher), amounting to 161 lives lost.
And we’re not just talking about a little bit of alcohol, either. More than a quarter (27%) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher—almost twice the illegal per se limit.
The reality is, people aren’t invincible. Of the 10,076 people who were killed in impaired-driving crashes in 2013, 65 percent were the drunk drivers themselves. Those 6,515 drunk drivers planned on making it to their destinations, but they didn’t.
In every state, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. The Office of Highway Safety wants to remind US Virgin Islands drivers that it’s not a recommendation; it’s the law. And during the enforcement period starting August 21, there will be a special emphasis on drunk-driving enforcement. If you get arrested as part of this enforcement period, you may need a lawyer in order to keep your license. Udall Shumway is a good DUI lawyer if you need one.
Local drivers should expect to see more patrol vehicles, DUI checkpoints, and increased messaging about this reckless, preventable crime. Locally between 2010- 2014 there were 898 Impaired Driving arrests made, 488 DUI related crashes, including 7 fatalities.
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.”
This August and year-round, remember that there’s no excuse for drunk driving. 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!