Stats Show Fairfax County Leads Virginia In DUI Deaths

Despite statewide progress in the fight against drunken driving over the past decade, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles data show drunken driving is still killing 19 people a year in Fairfax. The County averaged the most drunken driving fatalities in Virginia during the 2006 to 2010 period.

Across the Commonwealth, 37 percent of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.  Virginia averaged 243 drunken driving deaths a year — approximately two DUI deaths every three days — over the five-year period.

The Fairfax County Police Department is participating in the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, stopping drunken driving through a combination of getting the word out through public education and stepped-up enforcement.

“When you make the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking, you put everyone in danger, not just yourself.  That’s simply unacceptable,” said Captain Susan Culin, Commander of the Fairfax County Police Traffic Division. “Our message to drivers is simple:  Drive sober or get pulled over.”

Making progress

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign and the campaign is paying life-saving dividends: Since 2001, Virginia has seen a 23 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities and a 32 percent drop in alcohol-related injuries.

Throughout this fall, Fairfax police are focused on keeping roads free from drunken drivers. Efforts include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and heavy enforcement around the holidays.

Some 32,760 drunken driving arrests were made across Virginia in 2010, which resulted in 29,063 convictions — an average of one DUI conviction every 18 minutes.

The program 

Checkpoint Strikeforce is a research-based, zero-tolerance campaign in the Mid-Atlantic States designed to both identify and apprehend drunken drivers through sobriety checkpoints and other enhanced law enforcement efforts and to educate the public about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving.

Nearly 43,000 ads will run on a total of 84 broadcast stations, cable systems and radio stations in Virginia this year with additional ads being broadcast separately in northern Virginia.

The Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign is supported by a grant from the DMV: Virginia Highway Safety Office to the nonprofit and Virginia-based Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP).