News Releases

1/12/2017: State Arrests 2,664 Impaired Drivers Over the Holidays

State Arrests 2,664 Impaired Drivers Over the Holidays

Posted 1/12/2017 12:52:12 PM

RALEIGH – The annual Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s Holiday Booze It & Lose It enforcement campaign removed thousands of impaired drivers from roadways.  State and local law enforcement arrested and charged 2,664 drivers for driving while impaired, of which 2,400 were alcohol-related and 264 were drug-related.  “The safety of those traveling on our roads is our top priority,” GHSP Director Don Nail said. “Removing just one impaired driver from our roads can save a life and during this campaign, law enforcement removed 116 impaired drivers on average each day.” During the four-week campaign, law enforcement agencies across North Carolina issued 108,951 traffic and criminal violations at 8,439 sobriety-checking stations and saturation patrols. The number of fatalities resulting from an impaired driver dropped 16.7 percent compared to 2015, with 359 deaths in North Carolina in 2016. 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 for the past 22 years. “It is encouraging to see that impaired driving fatalities decreased last year.  I believe this trend demonstrates that people are becoming more responsible and making the decision to not drive while impaired,” continued Nail. The top five counties for DWI arrests during the Holiday Booze It & Lose It enforcement campaign were: 1. Wake County: 247 2. Guilford County: 177 3. Mecklenburg County: 162 4. Cumberland County: 117 5. Forsyth County: 110 The N.C. Department of Transportation and GHSP reminded motorists to use the mobile website BeSmarterThanThat.com to help them find a safe way home before drinking.  The “Don’t Drink and Drive. You’re Smarter Than That.” marketing campaign aims to prevent impaired driving by reminding our citizens to designate a sober driver, download a ride app, find public transportation options, or call a taxi to get home safe.  For more information regarding Booze It & Lose It activities and county totals, contact Jonathan Bandy at (919) 814-3657 or visit the ghsp.nc.gov. ***NCDOT***  
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12/22/2016: Governor’s Highway Safety Program – A Year of Reducing Traffic-Related Fatalities

Governor’s Highway Safety Program – A Year of Reducing Traffic-Related Fatalities

Posted 12/22/2016 12:47:23 AM

RALEIGH - The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program made significant strides with several projects and initiatives launched in 2016 to reduce traffic-related crashes and fatalities on our roadways.   “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish this year in traffic safety,” GHSP Director Don Nail said. “Because of Governor Pat McCrory’s NC Vision Zero initiative, we are now able to bring together multiple agencies and stakeholders to engineer safer roads, educate road users on safe driving practices, and enforce life-saving traffic laws.” The NC Vision Zero initiative utilizes data analytics to guide traffic safety efforts and educate the public. Safety stakeholders, such as state and local law enforcement, are able to use the data to directly link agency enforcement and countermeasure activities.  The initial goal is to reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries in half in the next 15 years, with a long-term target of zero deaths on North Carolina roadways. In addition to the launch of NC Vision Zero, GHSP funded a total of 109 projects for state, local and nonprofit agencies. These projects focused on several areas that affect highway safety including, but not limited to, alcohol-impaired driving, occupant protection, speeding, young drivers, motorcycle safety, older drivers, school bus safety, pedestrians, bicyclists, and traffic records.  Following are key highlights of GHSP’s program areas: Occupant Protection GHSP reported a record 91.7 percent seatbelt usage rate according to its annual survey conducted by RTI International. This means that more than nine of out 10 North Carolinians are taking the time to buckle up when getting in a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s standard is 90 percent. North Carolina’s Click It or Ticket campaign is still the national model for education and enforcement programs that remind motorists that wearing a seat belt can save your life. The program, which started 23 years ago, aims to increase driver seatbelt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina. It has yielded significant results over the years.  Impaired Driving Fatalities resulting from of an impaired driver are down 19.6 percent, compared to 2015, with 329 deaths in North Carolina so far this year. 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. GHSP has awarded grants to DWI Task Force teams that work nightly to catch impaired drivers. The DWI Task Force teams are in Brunswick, Buncombe, Cumberland, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Robeson, Union, Wake and Wayne counties. GHSP added two new units to the B.A.T. Mobile program, which is a Breath Alcohol Testing vehicle equipped with a mobile lab and a magistrate’s courtroom.  B.A.T. mobile units are used at checkpoints throughout the state to identify and remove impaired drivers from roadways.  GHSP expanded the fleet so that the program can be regionally based and more efficient.  The program is administrated through the Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.   To help with efficient prosecution of impaired driving cases, GHSP funded three Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors to conduct training for prosecutors, law enforcement, magistrates, judges and other traffic safety professionals.   Motorcycle Safety GHSP sponsors the BikeSafe NC initiative to reduce motorcycle crashes and fatalities.  This program offers training to experienced riders who are interested in improving their riding skills and riding techniques. The training is conducted by law enforcement motor officers in a non-threatening, non-enforcement environment.  There is no charge for these classes.  BikeSafe NC held 145 classes this year in 21 counties training over 490 riders. Education and Enforcement Campaigns GHSP sponsored 17 educational and enforcement campaigns in which 80 percent of law enforcement agencies statewide participated. More than 100 agencies in North Carolina participated in all the campaigns, which include Click It or Ticket, Booze It & Lose It and Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine programs. More than 24,000 saturation patrols were completed, resulting in over 7,000 DWI arrests, 24,000 occupant restraint tickets, 88,000 speeding violations and 5,000 felony arrests.  2017 Preview Looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, GHSP will continue to serve as a leader for improving traffic safety in North Carolina through its own education campaigns and initiatives while funding evidence-based, innovative, and results-oriented programs. The achievements to date have been the result of a wide range of education, enforcement, and other safety initiatives in our state, and can be credited to the hard work and dedication of many agencies and individuals including law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, educators, researchers, community groups and safety advocates. “We are confident that our efforts during 2016 and the launch of NC Vision Zero will help accomplish our goal of reducing crashes and saving lives on our streets and highways,” Nail concluded. In March 2017, North Carolina will host the Lifesavers Conference in Charlotte. The conference is the largest meeting of highway safety professionals in the country. More than 2,000 participants will gather for three days to discuss best practices, new initiatives and countermeasures aimed at reducing roadway incidents.
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One of the Governor's Highway Safety Program's  key accomplishments in 2016 was the launch of Governor Pat McCrory's NC Vision Zero initiative to eliminate deaths on North Carolina roadways. ***NCDOT***
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8/31/2016: North Carolina Motorists Buckling Up in Record Numbers

North Carolina Motorists Buckling Up in Record Numbers

Posted 8/31/2016 10:43:24 AM

Raleigh - Governor Pat McCrory announced that a record 91.7 percent of North Carolinians are buckling up and regularly using seat belts, according to recent a survey conducted by RTI International. “North Carolina is a leader in educating the public about the dangers of not wearing a seat belt while in the car, and our rising seat belt usage rate reflects the state’s ongoing commitment to roadway safety and saving lives,” Governor McCrory said. “We will continue to do all we can to educate the public about the dangers of not buckling up to prevent traffic-related injuries and fatalities.” In 1993, North Carolina became the first state to implement Click It or Ticket, an education and enforcement program to remind motorists that wearing a seat belt can save your life. The program aims to increase driver seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina and has yielded significant results over the years. “Our seat belt usage rate shows that more than nine out of ten North Carolinians are taking the time to buckle up when getting in a motor vehicle,” said Don Nail, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We will continue educating drivers and passengers on the lifesaving importance of wearing your seat belt. North Carolina’s goal is for every seat to buckle up every time.” RTI International conducted the seat belt survey in 25 counties in June to determine North Carolina’s overall seat belt usage rate, as required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The selection of counties was based on fatality and road segment data.  According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey conducted annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the national seat belt use rate in 2015 was 88.5 percent, up from 86.7 in 2014. North Carolina’s seat belt use rate last year was 89.9 percent. Under North Carolina law, all drivers and passengers must have a seat belt fastened when a vehicle is being driven on a street or highway. Failure to wear a seat belt carries a fine of $179, and child passenger violations carries a fine of $263. ***NCDOT***  
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8/19/2016: State Launches Aggressive Drunk Driving Enforcement Campaign

State Launches Aggressive Drunk Driving Enforcement Campaign

Posted 8/19/2016 11:45:01 AM

State Launches Aggressive Drunk Driving Enforcement Campaign  Booze It & Lose It to Run Through Labor Day Raleigh – The N.C. Department of Transportation and Governor’s Highway Safety Program intend to make roadways safer for North Carolina’s residents and visitors by cracking down on drunk drivers during the Labor Day holiday. State officials kicked off the annual Labor Day Booze It & Lose It campaign, which runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 5, at the conclusion of the North Carolina Highway Safety Symposium. “We want everyone in North Carolina to enjoy this Labor Day holiday and make safe choices,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “Our ultimate goal is to eliminate alcohol-related accidents and fatalities by getting impaired drivers off the road through education and enforcement efforts.” During last year’s Booze It & Lose It campaign, state and local law enforcement arrested 3,523 impaired drivers through more than 13,500 sobriety checkpoints across the state. State law makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. The mission of the Booze It & Lose It campaign aligns closely with Governor Pat McCrory’s NC Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate all traffic-related injuries and fatalities through strategic coordinated efforts with public and private partners in traffic safety. “Drunk driving is selfish and dangerous,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We need everyone to not only make safe decisions for themselves, but also to look out for others. If you know someone is about to drive impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact the police immediately.” In conjunction with the enforcement campaign, state officials will utilize the “Be Smarter Than That” campaign to provide easy access to safe transportation options for members of the public who plan to drink alcohol. The website BeSmarterThanThat.com allows users to designate a sober driver, download a ride app, find public transportation options, and find a taxi based on their location. ***NCDOT***
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7/12/2016: GHSP Launches Website to Remind Drivers to 'Be Smarter Than That'

GHSP Launches Website to Remind Drivers to 'Be Smarter Than That'

Posted 7/12/2016 10:44:58 AM

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) has launched a new website, BeSmarterThanThat.com, to educate citizens about the risks of drunk driving and to suggest alternative means of transportation to prevent it from happening. The website works across all mobile devices and can be used to call a cab or phone a friend, as well as to find public transportation based on a user's current location. It can also link to social media accounts to enable a user who has been drinking to reach out to friends for a safe way home. Last year, 418 people died in North Carolina as a result of crashes involving drunk drivers. So far this year, there have been 152 drunk-driving fatalities on state roads. Although law enforcement officers work diligently to remove drunk drivers from roadways, the best way to keep citizens safe is to prevent drunk driving from happening in the first place. "The safety of our citizens is my top priority, and we are developing and using new methods through technology to achieve this goal," said Governor Pat McCrory. "Anyone that plans to drink should take advantage of BeSmarterThanThat.com to find a safe way home. With this new website, making the right decision – not to drink and drive – is simple." Governor McCrory's "N.C. Vision Zero" initiative aims to eliminate traffic-related injuries and fatalities through coordinated efforts of multiple partners, including law enforcement, to reduce risky driving behavior. BeSmarterThanThat.com is another powerful tool to reduce drunk-driving fatalities in the state. "Everyone has a responsibility to themselves and their fellow motorists to practice safe driving habits," GHSP Director Don Nail said. "Our new website, BeSmarterThanThat.com, makes it easier than ever to contact a sober driver through social media, take advantage of a ride service or use public transportation. If you plan to drink alcohol then plan a way to get home safely in advance." It is important to make responsible, safe personal decisions, 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," Nail said. "If you see an impaired driver on the road contact local law enforcement immediately. You could be the difference between life and death." Join GHSP in staying safe and in preventing drunk driving. Don't Drink and Drive. You're Smarter Than That. ***NCDOT***  
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