Officials: Don't go overboard while celebrating

Troopers urge community to be safe this holiday

POSTED: 7:22 PM Jul 03 2013
GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

Officials say the 4th of July weekend is one of the deadliest of the year for travelers.

Last summer the North Carolina Highway Patrol investigated 88 fatal collisions and 913 crashes resulting in injuries due to impaired drivers. "Folks will drink and don't make plans for the return home," says Trooper Doug Coley with the NC Highway Patrol.

This year they're looking to lower those numbers.

The Highway Patrol has teamed up with the Wildlife Resources Commission and the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division to crack down on drunk drivers on land and on the water in a campaign called "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink & Drive."

Highway Patrol will be setting up checkpoints on the roadways, while the Wildlife Resources Commission will be patrolling the waters. "They'll be working the roadways near those areas and also checking boaters that are on the water for impaired boating," said Coley.

Coley says Eastern North Carolina's beaches are a major factor in high traffic numbers around holiday weekends. He says the trouble starts when people are rushing to reach their destination. "People don't allow for breaking distance and when traffic becomes congested then we start having out wrecks," he said.

The "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink & Drive" campaign spans the three major holiday weekends in and around the summer months; Memorial, Independence and Labor Day.

Officials say the campaign kicked off Memorial Day weekend and was a huge success. The Wildlife Resources Commission cited 25 people for operating a boat while impaired, while the Highway Patrol charged 285 people for driving impaired. Statewide, the three agencies combined to issue a total of 9,501 violations to people on water or roadways that weekend.

This holiday's "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink & Drive" campaign will begin on the 4th and end Sunday.