In an effort to raise awareness about drinking while driving any vehicle, a group of law enforcement authorities in North Carolina launched a campaign entitled “On the road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive.” The campaign recently organized a combined sobriety checkpoint effort near a North Carolina beach and the public boat launch.
The sobriety checkpoints were held during the daytime as opposed during the evening hours when sobriety checkpoints are typically held. The officers say that their aim is to keep people safe and raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, whether they are driving a boat or a car.
Officers from several law enforcement agencies were involved, including:
- New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office
- Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office
- North Carolina State Highway Patrol
- Alcohol Law Enforcement
- Wilmington police department
- Oak Island police department
- Whiteville police department
The officers began administering field sobriety tests at the checkpoints beginning at 4:30p.m. Anyone who was suspected of driving while intoxicated as a result of a field sobriety test was sent to a nearby area where a breathalyzer test was administered.
Two checkpoints were set up – one heading towards Wrightsville Beach near the Heide Trask Drawbridge at the North Carolina Wildlife boat ramp and another checkpoint on the mainland. However, the checkpoints immediately created a backup of cars on both sides of the drawbridge.
The bottleneck of summer traffic was certainly a drain for people hoping to enjoy a summer day, especially for those who had not been drinking and had no intention of doing so. By 6:30 p.m. the traffic was simply backing up too much and officers gave up on their sobriety checkpoint efforts and decided to hit the streets in order to patrol the areas looking out for any possible evidence of a drinking and driving.
The patrols completed their combined DWI campaign by 11 p.m. Interestingly, no one was arrested for DWI during the combined campaign. Officers believe that their efforts helped to keep North Carolina boaters and beachgoers safe. Whether this is true or whether their fruitless efforts came at the expense of North Carolina tax dollars could be debated.
Source: Lumina News, “BREAKING NEWS: Sheriff’s road block targets Wrigtsville Beach boat ramp users,” Patricia E. Matson, 25 June 2011