Highway Patrol asking motorists to make safety a top priority this holiday weekend

RALEIGH – The Labor Day weekend marks traditional end of summer vacation and many North Carolinians will be traveling and gathering with family and friends. The Highway Patrol wants everyone to make safety a top priority this holiday weekend by encouraging motorists to drive carefully and obey all traffic laws.

To ensure a safe driving environment for motorists, the Highway Patrol will increase patrols on all North Carolina highways during the holiday weekend. Troopers will be looking for impaired drivers, speeders and careless/reckless driver as well as assisting motorists in need. The Labor Day holiday period officially begins at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5.

“As Labor Day approaches, I ask everyone to think safety first. Please designate a sober driver and obey all the traffic laws,” said Bill Grey commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. “Working together we can make a difference and save lives.”

Last year in North Carolina, troopers investigated 10 fatal collisions and 365 injury collisions over the Labor Day weekend. Three of those collisions were attributed to impaired driving.

According to the Center for Disease Control, from 2003 to 2012, over 4,000 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in North Carolina alone. To reduce needless deaths from occurring, in 2015 troopers made over 21,000 arrests for driving while impaired. Despite these efforts, the Highway Patrol is asking motorists to do their part as well.

The best way to prevent someone from driving drunk is to make a plan for a sober designated driver, and make sure everyone agrees to it ahead of time. If you are faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired is trying to drive, here are some tips on how to stop them:

Be as non-confrontational as possible.

Suggest alternate ways of getting to their destination — a cab, a sober driver, public transportation.

Remember that the person you are talking to is impaired — talk a bit more slowly and explain things more fully than if you were speaking to a sober person.

Explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care and you don’t want them to hurt themselves or others.

Suggest that they sleep over.

Enlist a friend to help you or to act as moral support — it’s more difficult to say “no” to two (or three or four) people than one.

If possible, get the person’s keys. It is far easier to persuade the potential driver when you hold this leverage.

If all else fails, call law enforcement. It’s better to have a friend arrested than injured or killed.

If you observe someone who you believe to be driving while impaired or driving in a careless and reckless manner, please dial *HP or *47. The call is toll free and callers should be prepared to assist the dispatcher by giving a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, location, and direction of travel.

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