$340K targets young drivers & DUI in Chesterfield - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

$340K targets young drivers & DUI in Chesterfield

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

Starting this week, young people in Chesterfield better be extra careful if they feel like partying. A massive drunk driving crackdown has launched, involving the organization Substance Abuse Free Environment Inc. (SAFE), local and state police.

Grant money totaling $340,000 has gone into figuring out why young people get DUI's, targeting Chesterfield County. Surveys were aimed at 18 to 24-year-old's in Chesterfield, and at least 10 other localities across Virginia. The result- 47 percent of young people in the county thought they could slip under police radar, if they drove while drunk.

Now, a message is being propelled through commercials, radio ads and seven billboards across the county- DUI's cost lives and money.

Regina Whitsett, with SAFE, is helping to coordinate the crackdown in Chesterfield County.

"(Young people) didn't know the consequences of receiving a DUI. They thought they went to jail, but they didn't know about the…classes that they had to go to, the interlock… that has to go on their vehicle after a first offense," explained Whitsett.

Brandi Thomas, 21, a student at Bryant & Stratton College, says she's got friends who think they'll slip under the radar.

"We have friends who don't think they'll get caught…But (police) will pull you. They'll pull you, and they'll get you so you might as well be careful," said Thomas.

Chesterfield police and state troopers will also be upping their DUI patrols all summer long.

"You'll be seeing more DUI checkpoints and patrols in the area, so it's really important to get a sober ride home," continued Whitsett.

Last year, there were 129 alcohol related crashes in Chesterfield County involving 18 to 24-year-old's, according to the DMV.

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