New Data Suggests Virginia Has a Drunk Driving Problem

Mar 21, 2019

Credit Kenny Louie / Flickr

Drunk driving is a major problem in Virginia, especially in certain areas according to a new report.

Nowhere is the drunk driving crisis in Virginia more of a problem than Chesterfield County. In a four-year stretch, the county had 48 alcohol-impaired driving deaths. That’s higher than the national average and higher than the Virginia average.

“Well Chesterfield is unfortunately traditionally kind of the one of the more higher traffic deaths in Virginia," says Lieutenant Justin Aronson with Chesterfield Police Department.

“Our roadways kind of go from anything from your country backgrounds with a lot of twists turns and no shoulders that sort of thing to your multi-lane divided limited access highways. Some of those roadways are a little more unforgiving,” says Aronson.

Virginia has a serious problem with drunk driving, according to new numbers from the County Health Rankings, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. They show 31% of driving deaths in Virginia are related to alcohol use. That’s higher than the national average of 29%.

“This is capturing where the accident occurred, and that’s because it’s most likely that the alcohol was also consumed in the vicinity,” says Aliana Havrilla, an action learning coach with the collaboration.

Other parts of Virginia that also have a high number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths include Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Both have numbers that exceed the national average and the Virginia average.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.