WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - The holiday season is in full swing and there are more eyes watching out for drunk drivers. That's thanks to some grant money putting more local law enforcement officers on patrol for that specific purpose.
Many people have already hit the roads for the holiday season and many more will be in the coming month that's why local law enforcement is stepping up their patrols, "This is the time of the year that sadly more people are out drinking and driving there are a lot more parties going on a lot more social event," says Washington County Virginia Sheriff Fred Newman.
Sheriff Newman tells us they received a $60,000 grant from the Department of Motor Vehicles as a part of the 'drunk driving, over the limit, under arrest' crackdown on impaired driving, "We're going to be doing sobriety check points saturation patrols in certain areas within our county," adds Newman.
Newman says the grant allows deputies to go out and enforce the laws without using tax payers' money, "We pay our deputies off duty to work hours that they're going to have off days off nights off to conduct these saturation patrols and check points," says Newman.
So what can you expect at these check points? Sheriff Newman tells us they will ask for your driver's license and registration, and be looking for signs to see if people are impaired, "If we do detect the odor of alcohol about the person then most likely we're going to ask them to pull over to the side of the road then they'll go through a series of tests to determine if in fact they have been drinking," adds Newman.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol has also conducted several sobriety checks this holiday week and will be doing more going into the weekend. According to T.H.P. so far Tennessee has experienced the lowest number of traffic fatalities in the month of November than it has in the last four years. They believe that's because troopers have arrested 5,618 people on suspicion of impaired driving this year that's up from the same time in 2012 where they arrested 5,187.
Both departments tell us the extra checks and patrols are to make sure everyone is safe during the holiday season.
The grant funds the crackdown from December first to January first.
Sheriff Newman tells us along with the sobriety checkpoints they will have extra patrols on the road looking for reckless drivers, road rage, and people speeding.