RALEIGH – People should celebrate and have fun this Fourth of July, but if you drink don’t operate an automobile or boat.
That was the message from traffic safety officials and law enforcement officers at Wednesday’s launch in Raleigh of anti-drunk driving campaigns aimed at automobile drivers and boaters.
Officials were at the Falls Lake Upper Barton Creek Boating Access Area in Raleigh for Wednesday morning’s launch of the “Operation Firecracker Booze It & Lose It” and “Operation Dry Water” campaigns.
“We want people to have a good time, but it’s never wise to drink and then operate a car, truck, boat or any vehicle,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “If you plan to drink alcohol this holiday weekend, or any day, rely on a designated driver, call a friend, use a cab or a ride-sharing service.”
The “Booze It & Lose It” campaign started Monday and ends July 9, and the “Dry Water” campaign runs July 1-3. During the campaigns, officials are raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving and increasing enforcement patrols to crack down on impaired drivers on roads and waterways.
“It’s easy to celebrate the Fourth responsibly,” said North Carolina State Highway Patrol Commander Col. Freddy Johnson Jr. “It’s a lot more difficult and often impossible to correct the mistakes people make when they drink and drive. So, please make a plan to get home safely so you don’t risk your life or someone else’s.”
More than 32% of the state’s 65 traffic fatalities for the last five years of published data were alcohol-related, according to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ North Carolina 2021 Traffic Crash Facts report.
State troopers will be on the lookout during the “Booze It & Lose It” campaign to crack down on drunk drivers.
As part of “Operation Dry Water,” law enforcement officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will also be stepping up marine patrols to ensure boat drivers are sober on North Carolina’s waterways.
Alcohol use is the leading contributor in recreational boater deaths, according to the National Boating Under the Influence Awareness and Enforcement Campaign.
Wednesday’s event was livestreamed on the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s Facebook page. To watch the recorded event, visit the NCGHSP Facebook page. People can also use NCDOT’s photos from the event, which will be loaded to its Flickr webpage.
Hosting Wednesday’s event were the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, U.S. Coast Guard, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the N.C. Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch and law enforcement.
For more traffic safety tips on our roads, follow @NCGHSP on Facebook and @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram, and visit NCDOT's GHSP webpage. For boating safety tips and information on the “Dry Water” campaign, please follow @NCWRC on Facebook and @ncwildlife on Twitter and Instagram, or visit On the Road, On the Water. Don’t Drink and Drive or Home – Operation Dry Water.
(NOTE: reporters seeking b roll of Wednesday's event, please see this video.)