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Highway Patrol: Drive safely, lawfully over holiday

Staff report
The N.C. Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to be careful as they enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and troopers will increase patrols on all interstates and major four-lane roads.
The holiday officially kicks off the summer vacation season in North Carolina. This means more people will be on the highways, increasing the chance of traffic crashes, according to a Highway Patrol statement.
Speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in the state.
“The Highway Patrol will be busy this weekend making the roads as safe as possible for all motorists. We want to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend,” said Colonel Walter Wilson Jr., Highway Patrol commander. “Please fasten your seatbelt and take the time to be sure your children are properly buckled in. Reduce your chances of becoming involved in a collision by obeying the speed laws.”
The Highway Patrol will also join other law enforcement agencies at “Click-It or Ticket” seatbelt checkpoints across the state throughout the week, and troopers will participate in the nationwide “Operation C.A.R.E.” (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).
“Operation C.A.R.E.” is a coordinated education and enforcement effort involving all Highway Patrol and state police agencies across the nation. These high visibility patrols during national holiday periods are designed to prevent crashes and ensure voluntary compliance with the motor vehicle laws.
Troopers will also increase their efforts to enforce the state’s litter laws by cracking down on people who litter the roads. Under tougher littering laws passed by the N.C. General Assembly, first-time offenders can be fined as much as $1,000 and be ordered to perform up to 24 hours of community service. Repeat offenders can get a $2,000 fine and 50 hours community service.
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Office of Beautification maintains the Web site where litter-bug reports can be submitted. The address is www.dot.state.nc.us/litterbug. The page can also be found by going to the Highway Patrol Web site at www.ncshp.org.
The Memorial Day holiday, during which the nation honors those who died in the service of the Armed Forces, is expected to be a busy one on North Carolina highways. The holiday weekend officially began at 6 p.m. on Friday and ends at midnight Monday. Last year, nine motorists died and 534 were injured in traffic collisions investigated by the Highway Patrol over the Memorial Day weekend.
Citizens may report crashes, impaired drivers, stranded motorists or other highway situations to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) on their cell phones. This is a toll-free call that connects the caller to the nearest Highway Patrol communications center.

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