Forty-seven percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in Chesterfield County who were surveyed in 2012 believe someone driving under the influence would not be stopped by law enforcement, according to Substance Abuse Free Environment Inc., which conducted the survey. With additional grant funding, SAFE, the substance-abuse-prevention coalition serving Chesterfield County, along with Chesterfield County Police and Virginia State Police, plan to change that perception this summer through increased enforcement along with a three-pronged media campaign titled: “When You DUI, Drinks Cost More Than You Think!”
SAFE has entered into Phase II of a grant with Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Center for School-Community Collaboration at Virginia Commonwealth University to receive $170,150 this year to implement various strategies to help reduce alcohol-related crashes among 18- to 24-year-olds. Increased DUI enforcement patrols will be among those strategies.
Funding will provide for increased law-enforcement patrols by Virginia State Police. In addition, SAFE will run a mass-media campaign beginning in May that includes television and radio commercials and billboards in English and Spanish. This campaign will warn of the costly consequences of a DUI. The goal is to raise the awareness of motorists in Chesterfield County, so they will realize, “When You DUI, Drinks Cost More than You Think!”
“SAFE is honored to partner with state and local law enforcement, as well as media partners in the community, to notify our residents of increased DUI enforcement efforts,” said Regina Whitsett, SPF-SIG coordinator for SAFE. “We want people to think about the consequences of drinking and driving before they go out so they can make alternate transportation plans, rather than getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol.”
SAFE invites those who are interested in working on the issue or contributing to the initiative to contact firstname.lastname@example.org  or 694-7794.