ROANOKE COUNTY, VA (November 30, 2011) – As you celebrate the holiday season enjoying traditions, food, family and fun, be reminded that the Roanoke County Police Department will be out in force from December 1, 2011, to January 2, 2012, to arrest anyone caught driving while impaired behind the wheel.
During this time, the Police Department has scheduled multiple checkpoints and increased police patrols in targeted areas. As part of the month-long effort, the Police Department has also launched a public awareness campaign via social media designed to remind people about the risks of impaired driving.
The campaign includes a poster that shows Roanoke County Police and Fire & Rescue personnel with the message “Nothing personal… but we don’t want to spend our holidays with you. Don’t Drink and Drive” The poster is being shared with the public via Roanoke County’s multiple social media channels, which include Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Links to the County’s social media pages can be found by visiting the Roanoke County website at www.RoanokeCountyVA.gov.
Roanoke County Police Sgt. Tim Wyatt, who serves as the County’s Traffic Coordinator, was instrumental in development of the public service campaign. “We know social media is one of the best ways to communicate and we are adding our voice to the conversation early on. Bottom line, our job is not to send you to jail – our goal is to keep people alive throughout the holiday season. With this poster and message, we want to remind people that they need to make alternate plans and stay off the road if they are impaired.”
Enforcement measures and public service campaigns such as the one developed by Roanoke County are having a positive impact. Since 2004, accidents that have involved alcohol and/or impaired driving have decreased in Virginia and in Roanoke County.
Steve Goodwin, who’s with the Virginia Highway Safety Office and also leads the Blue Ridge Transportation Safety Board, says Roanoke County is to be commended for its proactive approach. “By using social media, Roanoke County will reach thousands of people with their message. We’re talking about lives and this is a creative way to get people talking and to think twice before getting behind the wheel while impaired. I’ll be sharing the poster with my friends, family, and colleagues and I hope others will do the same.”
The Roanoke County Police Department recommends these simple tips for a safe holiday season:
- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home;
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement; and
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take that person’s keys and help him or her make other arrangements to get home safely.