State and local law enforcement officers will aggressively seek out and arrest drunk drivers

Annual Fourth of July Booze It & Lose It Campaign Underway Statewide
Image: Pexels
June 24, 2016

The North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) have launched the annual 'Booze It & Lose It - Operation Firecracker' campaign, which runs this year from Friday, June 24 to Tuesday, July 5 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 Fourth of July holiday with friends, family, and our fellow Americans.

"The safety of our citizens is my top priority, especially during the holidays," said NC Governor Pat McCrory. "There will be an increase in law enforcement officers on our roadways, including nine DWI Task Force teams, day and night over the next several weeks to catch drivers who break the law, so plan ahead to get home safely."

Now 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 the success of Booze It & Lose It, NCDOT says that 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, according to NCDOT data. So far in 2016, there have been 135 drunk driving fatalities statewide—which is 51 fewer deaths than this same time last year.

During last year's Operation Firecracker campaign, law enforcement officers arrested 1,785 drunk drivers. Nevertheless, there were 111 crashes that involved drunk drivers, resulting in five fatalities.

NCDOT and the GHSP encourage everyone to plan 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.