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Fairfax County drivers most vulnerable to DUI fatalities

Statistics show that drunk driving arrests in Virginia plummeted more than 30 percent in the last 10 years. However, Fairfax County remains at the top of the list for Virginia law enforcement officers who are on the lookout for drunk drivers.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports an average of 19 people died each year from 2006 to 2010 in Fairfax County alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. The county's fatal DUI traffic crash figures are the highest in the state. Because of this, police in the area continue to crack down on drunk driving.

Fairfax County police are participating in the decade-long, regional campaign called Checkpoint Strikeforce to help turn the tide of deadly statistics. The combination of public education and increased law enforcement efforts have led to many drunk driving arrests. More than 29,000 drivers were convicted and more than 32,700 DUI arrests were made in Virginia last year. At this rate, one driver is convicted of DUI every 18 minutes.

Checkpoint Strikeforce, funded by the state DMV, is targeting extra public awareness advertisements in northern Virginia. As part of the initiative to further reduce road deaths due to alcohol, the state's media will broadcast more than 43,000 anti-DUI ads by the end of the year. Law enforcement agencies are beefing up sobriety checkpoints, especially during heavy traffic holidays.

As the winter holidays approach, it is especially important that drivers be aware that Fairfax County police officers will be devoting additional resources to tracking down drunk drivers. Because a drunk driving conviction can lead to license revocation, fines and even jail time, it is important to understand your rights should you be pulled over for DUI. While being arrested for DUI can be an overwhelming experience, it is important to keep in mind that strong defenses can be built to challenge the charges.

Source: Fairfax News, "Stats Show Fairfax County Leads Virginia in DUI Deaths," James Limbach, Nov. 7, 2011

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