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The statewide initiative aimed at curbing drunk driving blitzed through Brunswick and New Hanover counties last Friday.
“Booze It & Lose It” checkpoints were set up throughout the state on Aug. 8, or “08-08-08” to remind drivers of the legal blood alcohol limit for driving, .08.
“We did arrest 16 impaired drivers for the two counties,” 1st Sgt. J.O. Holmes of the N.C. State Highway Patrol said.
“The checkpoints floated around, but we had saturation patrols throughout the entire day,” Holmes explained.
Saturation patrols use a group of state troopers to concentrate on areas with a history of alcohol-related collisions or arrests.
Areas troopers targeted include N.C. 130 between Holden Beach and Shallotte, U.S. 17 around Shallotte and N.C. 211 near Long Beach Road.
“Generally, we focus on any of the major egresses from the beaches. You tend to have a lot of people going to and from the beaches that have been drinking,” Holmes said.
This “Booze It & Lose It” blitz differed from most drunk driving campaigns done by highway patrol and other law enforcement agencies, Holmes said.
Most drunk driving initiatives are weeklong or weekend-long events, usually around a holiday.
Holmes said he was pleased by the results of the one-day initiatives, noting “pleased” is a relative term when talking about impaired drivers.
But raising awareness about drunk driving was the goal, Holmes said.
The Shallotte Police Department also participated in the initiatives, he added.
The “08-08-08” campaign was coordinated by the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
“Our ‘Booze It & Lose It’ campaigns accomplish two goals: removing drunk drivers from the roads and educating the public about the danger of impaired driving,” N.C. Gov. Mike Easley said in a release. “This one-day enforcement blitz is a good reminder to motorists that drinking alcohol and driving are a deadly mix.”
In 2007, 488 North Carolinians died as a result of alcohol-related crashes and more than 9,000 were seriously injured.
For more information about this or other highway safety issues, contact the DOT Communications Office at (919) 733-2522, or visit the GHSP Web site at: www.ncdot.org/programs/ghsp.
Caroline Curran is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at email@example.com.