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Booze It & Lose it efforts in full swing for holiday

Raleigh – The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is in the midst of its annual Booze It & Lose It – Operation Firecracker campaign through July 4, which runs in conjunction with the Fourth of July holiday.

During this time, state and local law enforcement officers will aggressively seek out and arrest drunk drivers, removing them from North Carolina roadways so that citizens can safely celebrate the birth of our nation with friends, family and our fellow Americans.

In its 22nd year, the Booze It & Lose It education and enforcement campaign has created increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as the penalties associated with driving while impaired. Even with its success, 9,411 people have lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina since the program’s introduction.

The number of fatalities involving drunk drivers increased from 384 in 2014 to 418 in 2015.  However, so far in 2016, there have been 135 drunk driving fatalities and that is 51 fewer deaths than this time last year.

During last year’s Booze It & Lose It – Operation Firecracker campaign, state and local law enforcement officers arrested 1,785 drunk drivers. Nevertheless, there were 111 crashes that involved drunk drivers, resulting in five fatalities. That was 31 percent of the total fatalities that occurred during the Fourth of July holiday.

Everyone has a responsibility to themselves and their fellow motorists to practice safe driving habits. In conjunction with the enforcement campaign, the NCDOT will use the “Don’t Drink and Drive. You’re Smarter Than That.” marketing campaign to remind North Carolina citizens on multiple ways to get home safely if they plan to drink alcohol.

The campaign encourages planning a way to get home safely in advance by designating a  sober driver, downloading a ride app, checking on public transportation availability or programming a taxi number into your mobile phone.  All of these methods are easy and effective ways to ensure a safe return home after a night of fun.

It is important to make safe decisions yourself, but it is also important to look out for others. If you know someone who is about to drive impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to their destination. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement immediately. You could be the difference between life and death.

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