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West Virginians urged to drive sober during holiday season

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Several law enforcement officers across West Virginia will be conducting sobriety checkpoints until the end of this month to keep roads safe during the holiday season.

The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program is taking part in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Impaired-Driving Enforcement Campaign to promote sober driving.

“We want you to make the responsible choices to designate a sober driver. Don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking,” advised NHTSA spokesperson Jennifer Floyd.

According to the NHTSA, about 733 people nationwide are injured or killed over the holidays each year due to impaired-driving related crashes.

“That’s just during the month of December, so that’s a pretty large number,” Floyd said.

DUI’s or crashes related to drunk driving are always up this time of year, she said.

“Due to the holiday parties, people tend to drink more and they plan on going to these parties too, so while they’re planning for the parties we want them to plan a safe way to get home,” she said.

Floyd said what many drivers don’t realize is that any level of impairment can be dangerous. In West Virginia, someone can still be arrested with a blood alcohol content┬álevel of less than the legal limit of .08 percent.

“If they’re showing signs of impairment and it’s pretty evident that it’s not safe for them to drive even under a .08 — from a .05 to a .08 — they could still be actually cited and arrested for driving impaired,” she said.

Drug-impaired DUIs are also on the rise in West Virginia, with an average of 24 percent of all DUI arrests involving drug use, according to a news release.

Floyd said people can easily avoid those situations because “it’s all preventable, that’s the sad part.”

Driving impaired in West Virginia could result in jail time or loss of a driver’s license.

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