This Labor Day, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program is joining forces with the North Carolina Trucking Association, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety also known as (NETS), the North Carolina Highway Patrol and members of more than 500 law enforcement agencies around the state to help curb impaired driving.
Over the 2019 holiday week, 10 people died and almost 600 were injured as a direct result of impaired driving across our roadways. In addition, 66 lives were claimed due to speeding, and distracted and sleepy driving.
“This Labor Day as we continue to monitor drunk-driving trends, we are calling on our partners in law enforcement to not only help remove drunk drivers from the roadways but to also encourage hard-working North Carolinians to find ways to safely unwind,” said Mark Ezzell, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (NCGHSP).
Tiffany Wright with AAA Carolinas projects that amidst Covid-19, many will be traveling, but closer to home, visiting North Carolina beaches, mountains, as well as family members and friends. Unfortunately, she says, some will be impaired behind the wheel.
“In response to the troubling number of deaths on the road as a result of impaired driving, we’re united in the plea encouraging North Carolina drivers to travel sober, obey traffic safety laws and drive vigilantly,” said Wright.
In addition to high-visibility saturation patrols across all 100 counties, the NCGHSP is utilizing the voices (download video here) of those who travel the most roadway miles across our state.
“I’ve seen a lot of bad decisions made behind the wheel; people getting dressed, texting, reading the newspaper, and putting on makeup,” said D. Luke Mallory, Road Team Captain with the North Carolina Trucking Association. “Some are even using prescription drugs, illegal substances and drinking while driving.”
North Carolina truckers travel about 7.7 billion roadway miles of the 111.9 billion driven annually by all motorists. That puts them and other essential workers from the fields of medicine, utilities, food, emergency, industrial and commercial industries at increased risk on our highways.
“Impaired and dangerous driving affects me and the other hard-working men and women who have been stretched thin working hard to replenish our supply chains,” Mallory said. “I’m personally asking people this Labor Day to make better decisions behind the wheel.”
But of course, if drivers don’t adhere to the harkening of these voices, they’ll be met by the keepers of the peace.
“Our roadways will not go unchecked by the Highway Patrol or any of the 500 law enforcement agencies across our state,” said Colonel Glenn McNeill of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. “If you are impaired behind the wheel, we will be there. If you are speeding, we will be there. If you are distracted, we will be there. If you are putting others at risk, we will be there.”
With the expected increase in motor vehicle travel which may lead to congestion on interstates, US and NC highways the North Carolina State Highway Patrol encourages drivers to plan ahead before traveling. In an effort to reduce collisions Troopers will be patrolling roadways looking for speed violations, impaired and distracted drivers and seat belt violation. Troopers will also partner with NC Wildlife Resources Commission Law Enforcement Division to focus on removing impaired motorists from both roadways and waterways.
Motorists are encouraged to follow these suggestions:
Expect Delays- research routes in advance to include secondary routes, detours and possible road closures. This can be done at www.DriveNC.gov .
Monitor Speed- speeding is still the top contributing factor to vehicle collisions.
Wear Seat Belts- seat belts must be worn in both front and back seats if available.
Avoid Road Rage- use patience when driving and avoid other motorists who may
contribute to road rage situations.
Don’t Drive Distracted- avoid any distractions(s) while driving that reduces your ability
to drive safely.
Collision Reporting- motorists involved in a property damage collision are asked to remove their vehicles from the roadway to the shoulder or emergency strip. Motorists involved in injury-related collisions should immediately contact 911 or *HP (*47) for emergency assistance.
For non-emergency information, motorists are requested to contact the local SHP office and avoid using *HP or 911. A list of local district offices can be obtained by visiting www.ncdps.gov .