North Carolina’s “Booze It & Lose It” campaign over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend landed law enforcement in clover this year. The campaign includes saturated patrols and sobriety checkpoints and involves state and local law enforcement agencies. This year’s St. Pat’s program ran from Friday, March 14 through Sunday, March 17.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, 507 checkpoints and 3,452 patrols reported 815 arrests for driving while intoxicated. Wake County had the most DWI arrests with 92. Mecklenburg County came in a distant second with 64. Cumberland, Guildford and Robeson counties rounded out the top five.
While “Booze It & Lose It” is primarily an anti-drunk driving effort, officers also arrest drivers or their passengers for other crimes or traffic violations. Seat belt and child restraint violations totaled 1,967 this year. More than 3,300 arrests for drug crimes, stolen vehicles and other criminal activities were logged over the weekend; traffic violations like speeding and driving with a revoked license totaled 16,874.
The 2013 St. Patrick’s Day campaign netted 690 DWI arrests, with 558 checkpoints and 1,833 patrols. It is important to note that comparing years can be tricky, because the program runs on different days of the week. Last year, March 14 was a Thursday and St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday. Fewer people may drink on Thursday than on Sunday in general, so the results could be skewed.
Nevertheless, the differences in the number of patrols and checkpoints between this year and last seems odd: In 2013, law enforcement apparently accomplished more with fewer resources.
North Carolina Department of Transportation, “St. Patrick’s ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign Results in 815 DWI Arrests,” March 25, 2014
North Carolina Department of Transportation, “2013 St. Patrick’s Day ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign Totals (Mar. 14-17)” and 2014 St. Patrick’s Day ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign Totals (Mar. 14-17),” at www.ncdot.gov