Drive Merry, Bright & Sober This Holiday Season: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

RICHMOND, Va. — The holidays are a time for caring and sharing, which is why the Virginia State Police is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Virginia’s local police and sheriff’s offices to share the message about the dangers of drunk driving. In addition, if traveling for the holidays, state police reminds all motorists to share the road responsibly, comply with speed limits and to make sure everyone’s using a seatbelt.

This holiday season, from December 13, 2019, through January 1, 2020, law enforcement are participating in the high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. During this period, state troopers and local law enforcement are on added patrols across the Commonwealth in an effort to deter drunk and drugged driving. Increased state and national messages from our partners with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and DriveSmart Virginia about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased troopers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on Virginia’s roadways.

According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 10,511 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2018 nationwide. On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2014 to 2018 — one person was killed in drunk-driving crashes every 50 minutes in 2018. That’s the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors. In 2018 in Virginia, there were 7,181 alcohol-related crashes that claimed 278 lives and injured 4,475 men, women and children.* This is why Virginia State Police is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to the holiday festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

According to NHTSA’s FARS, 839 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December 2018 across the US. During the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018 alone, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities (285) than during any other holiday period that year. These fatalities are preventable, and drivers must remember that driving impaired by any substance — drugs or alcohol — is deadly, illegal, and selfish behavior.

Virginia State Police recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
  • If living in the Northern Virginia/DC region, take advantage of the WRAP’s “Sober Ride” program (
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, dial #77 on a cell or call 911.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

*2018 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, Virginia DMV Highway Safety Office