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The best way to spread the holiday spirit is be smarter when driving

RALEIGH – This holiday season, law enforcement will be on every North Carolina road looking for impaired drivers as part of the annual year-end Booze It & Lose It enforcement campaign.

“This ought to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ so we will do what it takes to help save lives and keep our roads safe,” said Don Nail, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Beginning today and continuing into the New Year, law enforcement will be watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired.”

With the excitement of holiday parties and celebrations, too many drivers are taking to the roadways after drinking. The decision to drive after even one drink can have deadly consequences. In 2015, 431 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver, and in December 2015 alone there were 14 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

Fatalities resulting from of an impaired driver are currently down 19.1 percent compared to 2015 with 322 deaths in North Carolina so far this year, but any life lost because of an impaired driver is one too many.

“Law enforcement will increase the number of saturation patrols and checkpoints to ensure that drivers know that if you’re driving after drinking, police will stop you,” continued Nail. “Impaired drivers could face jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, towing fees, and other expenses, totaling $10,000 on average. That doesn’t even count the heftier price you could pay: the price of your life or someone else’s.”

Among those law enforcement officers that will be out on patrol in the coming weeks are the members of several DWI Task Force teams funded through grants awarded and administrated by the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. These officers are responsible for working nightly to catch impaired drivers. The DWI Task Force teams are in:

  • Brunswick County
  • Buncombe County
  • Cumberland County
  • Forsyth County
  • Guilford County
  • Mecklenburg County
  • Robeson County
  • Union County
  • Wake County
  • Wayne County

Follow these tips to stay safe on the road this holiday season:

  • If you will be drinking, do not drive.  Buzzed driving is drunk driving.
  • Plan your safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use public transportation or use a rideshare app. Try the BeSmarterThanThat.com mobile site, which allows users to call a taxi or friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a safe way home.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.
  • Drive the posted speed limit.  Slow down in work zones and in inclement weather.
  • Don’t drive distracted.  Remember that one text or call could wreck it all.
  • Buckle-up and make sure your passengers are always properly restrained.  Click It or Ticket. Every seat. Every time. It’s the law.

For more information regarding Booze It & Lose It activities, contact Jonathan Bandy at (919) 814-3657 or visit ghsp.nc.gov.

Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive. Plan ahead. You’re Smarter Than That.

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