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RALEIGH – To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program is teaming up with law enforcement, traffic safety officials, and crash survivors to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving.
In a video release, NCGHSP alerted the public that officers will be out conducting increased patrols starting today Oct. 26 – Nov. 1 to identify and remove impaired drivers from our roads during the annual Halloween “Booze It & Lose It” campaign.
“We want North Carolinians to have a fun night on Halloween, but to also stay safe and make responsible choices,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “In today’s world, there are many options available to drivers to help them get home safely if they have been drinking. If you have ingested any impairing substance: alcohol, pills, marijuana or something else, do not drive. If you know someone who is impaired, don’t let them get behind the wheel. If you see an impaired driver, call 911. And always wear your seat belt, it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.”
The video also included the account of teenagers who survived a crash last year, but tragically lost their friend and grandmother due to the actions of an impaired driver.
Sadly, their story is an all too familiar one. Consider these frightening facts: In 2018 around the U.S., 231 children 14 and younger were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Almost half of the fatal vehicle crashes over the Halloween weekend involve an impaired driver. About one-quarter of pedestrian deaths on Halloween night involve an impaired driver. “Despite COVID-19 we’re certain people will be gathering and drinking all Halloween weekend, and we need every single partygoer to plan their sober ride home in advance,” said NCGHSP Director, Mark Ezzell. “Last year, 35 people lost their lives on North Carolina roadways during the week of Halloween, and nine of those deaths were caused by impaired drivers. We don’t want that to happen this year!”
Of the 1,442 fatalities on North Carolina roadways in 2018, 411 of those involved an impaired driver. Impaired driving isn’t just an issue here, explained Sarah Searcy, Bicycle & Pedestrian manager at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at N.C. State University. That’s more than one in every five children who died in traffic crashes that year. “Nationwide, 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2018, and 29 percent of those fatalities occurred in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08,” Searcy said.
Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians, whether they are children or adults who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as pedestrians are not paying attention to their surroundings and so, are at greater risk of getting hit by a vehicle.
Safe driving is a lifelong commitment. Follow our social media accounts: @NCGHSP on Facebook and @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram for frequent safe driving tips!