Police to patrol for drunken drivers

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Suffolk Police Department will increase patrols to keep the roads safe from impaired drivers this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

This is the first time St. Patrick’s Day has fallen on a Saturday since 2012, and many celebrations are expected to last the whole weekend. Police are reminding citizens to be responsible this weekend and stay out of the driver’s seat if they’ve been drinking.

“Every instance of impaired driving is 100-percent preventable,” a Suffolk press release stated. “Citizens can help prevent the deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving by making sure they always plan for safe and sober rides home. If you see a suspected DUI driver, call 911 to report and advise a vehicle description and direction of travel.”

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Law enforcement will also be looking for drunk drivers along Route 13 in Tidewater and the Eastern Shore. Virginia police agencies are partnering with officers in Maryland and Delaware for this border-to-border effort on the major north-south corridor that goes through Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Suffolk, according to a state press release.

“Border-to-border efforts such as these are vital to reducing the unacceptable and preventable deaths caused by drunk driving,” Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb stated in a press release.

There were 248 alcohol-related fatalities in Virginia last year, per the press release. The chance of someone being in an alcohol-related crash in Virginia over his or her lifetime is one in six.

Those convicted of drunken driving face losing their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, jail time, attorneys’ fees, court costs and other consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average DUI costs about $10,000.

“Most drunk drivers who cause a fatal crash don’t go out thinking they’re going to kill someone that night. But, by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, they’re making a conscious choice to put everyone’s lives at risk,” Holcomb stated. “Drivers need to be smart and stay safe by planning ahead and selecting a sober ride home before the St. Patrick’s Day party starts.”