Operation Firecracker seeks to reduce drunk driving

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 05:07 PM

The Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for many as family and friends gather for fireworks, parades and parties.

Celebrations often involve alcohol and can turn fatal when people chose to drive after drinking.

The state Department of Transportation and Governor’s Highway Safety Patrol Program will conduct stepped-up enforcement through Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker through July 6.

“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, in a statement. “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.

Officials with the state Department of Transportation and Governor’s Highway Safety Patrol offered several tips to prevent drunk driving:

• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver;

• If impaired, call a sober friend or family member, use a taxi or take public transportation;

• If drivers see someone driving drunk, they shouldn’t hesitate to call local law enforcement; and

• Don’t let friends or strangers drive drunk or ride with someone who is intoxicated. Take their keys, and call them a ride.