After July 4th, Virginia Is Still Celebrating: Fewer Road Deaths, More DUI Arrests
The fireworks are spent, the burgers and watermelon eaten, and most of the July 4th holidaymakers have returned from their weekend getaway. Yet in Virginia, there is cause to continue the celebration.
Statistics show that July 4th road deaths are down to a level that hasn’t been seen since 2002. Moreover, DUI arrests are also up from the previous year – 77 to 96. It is fair to assume that some of those arrested might have added to the crash totals, and perhaps even to the fatalities, were they not caught by Virginia State Police officers.
What caused the downturn? Active policing was part of it, certainly. During the holiday weekend Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E) was in effect. This program involves stepping up police visibility and increasing enforcement during holidays.
Virginia is also tough on drunk drivers in general, which is of great help during holiday weekends, times notorious for impaired driving. Many former DUI offenders who might have been on the road drunk during the holiday weekend found that they could not start their cars, thanks to Virginia’s ignition interlock laws. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
Since 2012 Virginia has required all people convicted of a DUI to install a car breathalyzer. As a result, a good number of habitual offenders were in the passenger seat on Independence Day. Others, who might have been tempted to drive home after the holiday barbecue, ended up staying over or designating a sober driver for the trip. Virginia’s education efforts have made a difference, as they have all over the country. Drunk Driving is simply getting less fashionable.
Hats off to the Virginia State Police. We hope to hear of even greater success in the years to come, now that they have fine-tuned their enforcement and education programs to be more effective than ever.