Seven out of ten of all U.S. fatalities are alcohol related during the holidays and law enforcement in Virginia is gearing up. Saturation patrols and increased sobriety checkpoints kicked off Friday night, as part of this year's Checkpoint Strikeforce.
Many motorists are expected to hit the roads this New Year's Eve and they hope to bring in the new year with friends and family. However, thousands are injured on the roads each year by drunk drivers.
"Usually, we notice people committing traffic offenses, traffic violations, swerving, crossing the yellow line, driving under the posted speed limit, driving without their headlights on," says Trooper Timothy Simmons, Virginia State Police.
He says failing the roadside test can instantly end any hopes of a happy New Year.
Diane Fisher, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, talks about a fellow member who survived an accident involving alcohol.
She says, "To see the devastation of what it's done to her life, and what it has taken from her. It's heart wrenching. She's had eight surgeries. She had to learn to walk all over again, couldn't feed herself. They thought she had died."
The Virginia State Police say your blood alcohol content influences your every move. Depending on your age, the limit may be different. The legal limit for those over the age of 21 is .08, while the limit for people under 21 is .02.
MADD takes an active role in supporting the effort to prevent drunk driving.
"They really are against DUIs. They're fighting for tougher laws and the enforcement of laws, and they are fighting against underage drinking," says Fisher.
The sobriety checkpoints could be a minor delay on the way to your destination, but they may help save lives.
"The police are out there doing checkpoints and looking for you, and if you're in the violation of the law, then we will arrest you," says Simmons.
Fisher says if you choose to drink, that's your choice. Just don't get behind the wheel of a car. She says that drunk driving accidents can alter the lives of drivers, families, and whole communities.