Published on Friday, 18 November 2011 17:27

Fairfax police plan to conduct a sobriety checkpoint Saturday as part of their efforts to fight drunk driving, which they say kills 19 people a year in the county.

\Fairfax averaged the most drunk-driving fatalities in Virginia from 2006 to 2010, according to the Commonwealth Department of Motor Vehicles.Over the five-year period, Virginia averaged 243 drunk-driving deaths a year, with 37 percent of traffic fatalities being alcohol-related, authorities said.

Fairfax is fighting the problem as part of the regional Checkpoint Strikeforce program.

Checkpoint Strikeforce began in 2002 as a six-month program but expanded in 2005 to be a yearlong effort that includes the District. Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Authorities conduct at least one checkpoint per week from July through December and at least one checkpoint per month from January through June.

Officials said men ages 21 through 25 “are the primary target audience because they are more difficult to reach with through educational campaigns and are “statistically at the highest risk for drunk driving.”

Fairfax says its law enforcement efforts will include the checkpoints, ” saturation patrols” and heavy enforcement around the holidays.

They did not release the location of the checkpoint.

Jurisdictions in the region typically increase their drunk-driving efforts as the holidays approach.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program also rolls out its SoberRide program, where people can request free taxi rides. The holiday campaign is scheduled to begin Dec. 16 and run nightly through Jan. 1.