GARNER – The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program and law enforcement officers are urging people to buckle up during one of the deadliest weekends for travelers.
From Friday, Oct. 11 to Sunday, Oct. 14, law enforcement agencies across North Carolina will be increasing patrols, looking for impaired drivers, speeders and checking for seat belt usage.
It’s all part of the first “Operation Crash Reduction,” a campaign with a simple goal -- to save lives.
“This operation will save lives,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We can all feel better knowing that law enforcement is helping make our roads safer through this statewide campaign.
The weekend leading up to Columbus Day has the second highest total number of fatal crashes among all holidays, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). In fact, Columbus Day weekend trails only Independence Day for the number of fatal crashes.
In October, an increasing number of drivers are on the road for festivals, football games, fairs and other fall activities, and more driving appears to mean more motor vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
North Carolina and our neighbors are particularly dangerous for travelers. The Southeast typically records more fatalities than other regions. Of the 3,330 fatal crashes in the Southeast between 2013 and 2017, one-third involved unbelted occupants.
“We know that speed, distraction, and impairment are the root causes of most crashes, and people are more likely to die in crashes when they aren’t buckled,” Ezzell said. “So, we are asking the public to be mindful of their driving behaviors and the dangers that could await them this weekend.”
How can drivers help?
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, show us that you are buckled up before taking off! Snap a photo of yourself and your passengers safely secured and tag @NC_GHSP on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Impress upon those who know you how important safety is to you. Tag us and we’ll “Like” your picture!
“Seatbelt safety is a cultural issue and we need every person who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle to understand that driving safely could mean saving their own lives and those around them,” Ezzell said.
GHSP funds efforts to reduce traffic crashes in North Carolina and promotes highway safety awareness through a variety of grants and safe-driving initiatives like Click It or Ticket, Booze It & Lose It, BikeSafe NC, Watch For Me NC and Speed a Little. Lose a Lot.