By Sarah Plummer
The Southern Regional Highway Safety Program is asking drivers across the region to drive sober over the holidays.
The Southern Regional Highway Safety Program, which serves Webster, Pocahontas, Braxton, Nicholas, Fayette, Greenbrier, and Raleigh counties, is taking part in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign aimed to decrease the number of drunk drivers on the nation’s roadways.
Lt. Paul Blume, area highway safety coordinator, explained there are an average of 10,000 fatalities connected to drinking and driving across the United States each year.
Last year there were 316 fatalities in West Virginia.
And alcohol related arrests, accidents, injuries and fatalities show an increase during the holiday season.
“During the holidays there are more people on the roadway shopping, there are more nighttime activities and more opportunities for alcohol consumption through December and into New Year’s. We are asking people to be smart and plan ahead. Designate a sober driver before you consume alcohol,” he said.
“Getting arrested is not the worst thing that can happen to you for driving drunk. You can crash, injure yourself, injure someone else or cause a fatality. When you know you are going to a holiday party where there will be alcohol, plan ahead,” he stressed.
To keep the roadways save, police across the Southern Regional Highway Safety Program’s region will see an increase in patrols and DUI checkpoints funded by the program.
Last year highway safety programs across the state made 9,481 DUI arrests and as of November, they had already arrested more than 9,000 drunk drivers, said Blume.
Blume said Beckley Police Department will be increasing patrols through the holiday and will be announcing DUI checkpoints later this month.
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