Police: Drive safely during holiday | Culpeper Star-Exponent

Police: Drive safely during holiday

The Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police will join a nationwide effort to reduce impaired and unsafe driving over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

In Culpeper, the sheriff’s office will join law enforcement agencies statewide and nationwide in the “Drunk Driving — over the limit, under arrest” campaign.

Sheriff Jim Branch reminds residents that if they are found to be driving under the influence, they will be arrested.

“I would ask that you please plan ahead of time for celebrations by designating a driver or by making plans to stay at your destination,” Branch said. “Culpeper deputies will not discriminate between those with a BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) level of .08 and those drivers with far higher levels — every person who breaks the law will be taken off the road and charged accordingly.”

CCSO deputies and undercover officers will be out in force conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols of certain areas.

Also this weekend, the Virginia State Police is conducting its annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort. The state-sponsored, national program is intended to decrease traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities due to speeding, drunk driving and failure to use seatbelts.

“Buckling up only takes a matter of seconds and is one of the easiest and surest ways to increase your chances of surviving a traffic crash,” said Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty, “So, why run the risk of endangering yourself by not wearing a seat belt? Why run the risk of getting a ticket for failing to obey the law? Why not start this Thanksgiving holiday with a new tradition of always wearing your safety belt? It truly is a law we can live with.”

During the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday, state police cited 915 safety belt violations and 220 child restraint violations.

Troopers also took 188 impaired drivers off the road, and stopped 9,628 speeders and 2,815 reckless drivers.

Last year, 12 people died in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday. In 2007, 19 were killed; 16 were killed in 2006; 20 in 2005; and 19 in 2004.

The State Police are also reminding motorists about the “move over” law, which requires drivers to change lanes or if unable to move, to slow down when passing stopped emergency vehicles.