According to the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” every time a bell rings, an angel gets his (or her) wings. Nowadays, we have our own version of the adage: Every time a holiday rolls around, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol sets up a DWI checkpoint. To verify the tip about the angels, we have to take a leap of faith. To verify the tip about the checkpoints, we just have to head to Upper Barton Creek at Falls Lake or Farrington Point at Jordan Lake this Memorial Day weekend.
This is the fourth year that the state patrol has teamed up with the Wildlife Resources Commission and the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Public Safety to operate the “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign. The state patrol will be enforcing the driving while intoxicated laws with motorists, the commission will be looking for drunk boat operators, and ALE will be looking for underage drinkers.
The campaign and the checkpoints have proven an effective way to make multiple DWI arrests. Over Memorial Day weekend in 2013, the agencies reported 9,484 alcohol violations and 310 arrests across the state. The good news for everyone is that the numbers have been declining steadily for the past few years.
The campaign expands on the state’s “Booze It and Lose It” anti-drunk driving programs of years past, but the state has not completely abandoned the “Booze It” brand. The checkpoints are run out of specially equipped buses marked with “Booze It and Lose It” and “Don’t Drink and Drive” signs.
The buses are more than rolling billboards. Each is staffed by a magistrate and an officer who will test the breath alcohol levels of drivers — all drivers, regardless of their demeanor or their performance behind the wheel.
Memorial Day is just the beginning of the summer checkpoint rush. “On the Road, On the Water” will run over the Fourth of July and Labor Day as well.
Source: News & Observer, “NC authorities team up, prep for DWI checkpoints on land, water,” Samantha Gilman, May 21, 2014