The campaign began Friday, March 11 and wrapped up Thursday, March 17. Statewide, about 660 sobriety checkpoints were in place, augmented by 1,956 saturated patrols. Between DWI (including underage drinking) charges, safety violations and a variety of criminal offenses, officers recorded 32,579 violations statewide.
Mecklenburg County ranked first for DWI citations, with officers reporting 124. The county logged a total of 2,667 traffic and criminal violations. Wake County’s lower DWI count did not translate into fewer total violations. The county logged 2,816 over the seven-day period.
North Carolina has a reputation as a leader in alcohol-impaired-driving enforcement. The Booze It & Lose It program was launched in 1994. In 2007, the state signed on to the Checkpoint Strikeforce, a multistate initiative dedicated to getting impaired drivers off the roads. Checkpoint Strikeforce asks that participating states conduct checkpoints and saturated patrols on a weekly basis somewhere within the state. According to their website, “You never know when or where you may encounter one.”
Law enforcement agencies ramp up sobriety checkpoints and saturated patrols during peak drinking holidays (New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July) and Superbowl Sunday, as well as during national drunk or impaired driving awareness campaigns.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, alcohol played a part in 29.4 percent of fatal crashes in North Carolina and 24.6 percent in Wake County (2009 data).
WECT News, “Booze it & Lose it campaign yields more than 1,000 DWI citations,” 03/24/11
Checkpoint Strikeforce website, accessed 3/25/11