Crackdown on Drinking and Driving Continues in Roanoke - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Crackdown on Drinking and Driving Continues in Roanoke

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The Roanoke Prevention Alliances narrows in on the reasons why people are choosing to drink and drive.

Alex Kevorkian says he always has a plan if he's going to drink downtown.

"A friend of mine was killed a few years ago by a drunk driver," Kevorkian says, "so I know it's a real problem."

Kevorkian, like other people we talked to downtown, say they've recently noticed an increase in cops and sobriety checkpoints in the area.

This coincides with the Roanoke Prevention Alliance beginning their crackdown on drinking and driving in February.

"They are definitely helping out with that and they are definitely trying to make a point," Kevorkian says.

So far this year, Roanoke Police have increased their driving under the influence arrests by 10 percent for people 21-24, where they've seen the most problem.

They also made 12 DUI arrest during Memorial Day weekend. That's up 50 percent from last year.

"The message we are trying to send is to have a plan because we are going to be out there," Roanoke Police Officer William Drake says. "If you drink and drive we are going to catch you, stop you, and arrest you."

Members of the Roanoke Prevention Alliance presented the data they've collected to Roanoke City Council on Monday.

They've found the younger generation doesn't notice a police presence and thinks they won't get caught.

Also, one council member suggested that some people choose to drink and drive because they are worried about getting a parking ticket if they leave downtown.

Police Chief Chris Perkins says parking shouldn't be an issue during the weekend because there's no enforcement, and during the week people should utilize the parking garages.

He says his officers plan to look at the hot spots where a lot of people are being arrested for DUIs and having accidents. He hopes that will decrease part of the problem.

"That means we are following data and doing what we need to do to increase public safety," Perkins says.

Making our area a safer place is what this initiative is all about, so people like Kevorkian won't have to feel the pain of losing someone to drinking and driving.