RALEIGH -The Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for many North Carolinians. Families and friends gather across the state to celebrate our nation's independence with parades, parties and fireworks. The celebration often includes alcohol, and the holiday can quickly go from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking.
The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor's Highway Safety Program remind you to avoid driving after drinking, or you will get caught.
"On Independence Day or any other day of the year, if you are driving after drinking, law enforcement will be working to keep you off the roads," said Don Nail, director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "Driving after even one drink is risking your life and the lives of others. It's simple -just don't do it. Get a ride home from someone that has not been drinking."
In 2013, there were 353 alcohol-related fatalities in North Carolina. Fewer people have lost their lives to alcohol-related crashes this year, with statistics showing 105 alcohol-related fatalities through June 20, compared to 164 at the same point last year. Stepped up saturation patrols, checking stations and increased public awareness are all playing a role in ensuring that those who decide to drink don't drive.
To keep our state trending in the right direction and continue saving lives, NCDOT and GHSP recommend these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:
Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
Stepped up enforcement for "Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker" continues through July 6. For more information regarding "Booze It & Lose It" activities, contact Heather Jeffreys at (919) 707-2660 or visit the GHSP website.