DWI crackdown nets 10 local arrests
RALEIGH – The message is simple – &uot;if you choose to drink, then please don’t drive.&uot;
The holidays are still more than one week away, but that hasn’t prevented law enforcement officials from across the state from sending an early message that drinking alcohol and driving will most likely lead to trouble.
In the first two weeks of the 10th anniversary of the &uot;Booze It & Lose It&uot; campaign, law enforcement officers statewide have arrested 2,644 motorists for driving while impaired (DWI). The campaign began Nov. 19.
Locally, 10 motorists face DWI charges stemming from a series of traffic checkpoints and saturation patrols conduced in Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties. Hertford County led the way with eight arrests, including two under the legal drinking age of 21.
Gates and Northampton each recorded one DWI arrest. Bertie County listed zero DWI arrests.
&uot;Now that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are upon us, if you attend a holiday party, please act responsibly when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages,&uot; said Sgt. B.A. Jones of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol’s Ahoskie office.
He continued, &uot;If you do choose to partake in alcoholic beverages and feel you have had too much to drink, then please use common sense and don’t get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The best advice is to plan ahead and choose a designated driver.&uot;
Using the latest numbers available, Sgt. Jones pointed to the fact that there have been, to date, a total of 25 motor vehicle related fatalities in the local area. Fourteen of those deaths have occurred in Bertie County, tying that county’s 15-year high set in 1990.
Last year there were 22 local fatalities.
&uot;Speeding and alcohol use are the top two reasons linked to fatal accidents on our highways,&uot; noted Sgt. Jones.
Impaired motorists are not the only thing law enforcement officers are keeping a close eye upon. Over the two-week period, local officers ticketed a total of 58 drivers for seat belt violations or for not properly restraining child passengers. Another 96 motorists received speeding tickets from across the four-county area; 10 were charged with driving while license were revoked; and 12 (11 in Hertford County) were citied on drug violations.
&uot;The majority of the fatalities in our area are due to unrestrained motorists,&uot; Sgt. Jones stated.
Meanwhile, counties with the highest DWI arrests in Week 2 (Nov. 29-Dec. 5) include Mecklenburg (84), Wake (44), Forsyth (30), New Hanover (30) and Duplin (29).
In addition to impaired-driving charges, officers statewide noted 2,754 safety belt and 416 child passenger safety violations during 2,614 checkpoints and stepped-up patrols. A total of 30,771 traffic and criminal citations were issued during the period.
Officers also wrote 11,163 speeding tickets and discovered a total of 684 drug charges, 45 stolen vehicles and 15 fugitives from justice.
&uot;For those traveling over the holidays, my best advice is not to drink and drive, buckle up and don’t get in a hurry,&uot; said Sgt. Jones. &uot;As expected, there will be a high volume of traffic on our roads. Take your time and please be patient. If you are planning a longer trip, prepare ahead by leaving a bit earlier due to the high traffic.&uot;
The fall &uot;Booze It & Lose It&uot; campaign continues through Jan. 2.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
MICHAEL F. EASLEY
NC DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
GOVERNOR’S HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAM
1508 MAIL SERVICE CENTER
215 EAST LANE STREET