As North Carolinians make plans to celebrate the Independence Day holiday with family and friends, designating a sober driver should top their “to do” list. The Governor’s Highway Safety Program today kicked off the “Booze It or Lose It: Operation Firecracker” campaign to make our roads safer by cracking down on those who break the law by driving drunk.
“The July 4th holiday is a time to make memories with family and friends, but those memories can easily turn tragic if you drink and drive,” said Don Nail, the newly appointed director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Law enforcement agencies and DWI task forces across the state will step up patrols during this campaign to cite drunk drivers and help keep our roads safe.”
During last year’s campaign there were 1,937 DWI citations issued statewide and 361 alcohol-related crashes, which resulted in 17 fatalities. Watch our public service announcement, reminding drivers that drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel is never a good decision.
To help combat drunk driving over the Independence Day holiday and throughout the year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program – in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – has provided grants to create DWI task forces in areas with the highest number of DWI-related deaths. There are currently seven DWI task forces across the state whose sole purpose is to get drunk drivers off the roads.
The approach is proving successful.
Since the Town of Cary launched its DWI task force three years ago, it has seen a significant drop in alcohol-related crashes and an increase in DWI arrests. There were 121 alcohol-related crashes and 310 DWI arrests in 2010, compared to 81 alcohol-related crashes and 450 DWI arrests in 2012.
Forsyth County, which is also in its third year of operating a DWI task force, saw the number of alcohol-related fatalities drop from 13 in 2011 to nine in 2012.
Guilford County, the newest DWI task force, has made 421 DWI arrests since it began in November 2012.
Based on these positive results, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program is working to implement more DWI task forces in cities and counties where drunk-driving-related deaths are prevalent.
Robeson and Columbus counties are also currently in their third year of DWI task force operation. New Hanover and Brunswick counties have a joint task force that is in its second year.
The “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” campaign runs from today, June 28, through the Independence Day holiday and ends on July 7.