As summer winds down and Labor Day looms, North Carolina drivers are seeing more police and state troopers on the roads. Checkpoints have also sprung up across the state as the annual Booze It & Lose It campaign got underway last Friday, August 20. The initiative will run through Labor Day.
Sponsored by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP), Booze It & Lose It was introduced in 1994. The GHSP chose late August to Labor Day for rollout because of an historical uptick in DUI-related arrests and accidents. The program includes both enforcement and education components.
North Carolina law imposes serious penalties on drivers convicted of DUI. For example, drivers will lose their license for one year on their first conviction, four years on their second, and permanently on their third. A fourth conviction is a felony and carries significant jail time. Drivers can lose their vehicles, too.
A DUI is issued to drivers over 21 with a .08 or higher blood alcohol level. North Carolina has a zero tolerance for impaired drivers under 21 — any level higher than .00 is a crime.
In 2009, the crackdown netted more than 105,370 criminal and traffic citations. North Carolina has more work to do, though: In 2009, there were 11,304 alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents — accidents that resulted in 394 deaths and 8,791 injuries.
The GHSP also operates Booze It & Lose It during other peak drinking and driving periods: St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween, and the winter holidays. All told, police and state patrol found 552,577 criminal and traffic violations last year.
WECT News 6 “Labor Day Booze It & Lose It Campaign Kicks Off” 8/24/10
North Carolina Department of Transportation “Booze It & Lose It” 03/09