RICHMOND, Va. -- In the last six years, Virginia has averaged 11 traffic-related deaths a year over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
To try and lower those numbers, Governor Terry McAuliffe, AAA Mid-Atlantic and Virginia State Police announced the 16th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign.
Checkpoint Strikeforce focuses on increasing patrols and DUI checkpoints to get drunk drivers off the road.
During the campaign, State Police along with nearly 200 local law enforcement agencies will deploy hundreds of anti-drunk driving efforts.
“While I want every Virginian to enjoy their Labor Day weekend, they must do so without endangering themselves or other travelers on our roads,” said Governor McAuliffe.
In all, police across the state are expected to conduct more than 150 sobriety checkpoints and 520 saturation patrols this holiday weekend.
McAuliffe emphasized that those who drive drunk will be caught and prosecuted.
“Those penalties include mandatory ignition interlock installation on the offender’s vehicle, as well as fines up to $2,500, suspension periods up to one year, and jail sentences also up to one year.”
While the program’s goal is to catch all potential drunk drivers, the campaign specifically focuses on men aged 21 to 35, which represents nearly one-third of all persons killed in Virginia’s alcohol-related traffic crashes last year.
“My message is clear, do not drink and drive,” said McAuliffe.
More than 19,000 people were convicted of DUI in Virginia in 2016.
Estimates project that nearly 1 million Virginians will be traveling the roadways on Labor Day holiday weekend.