One of the great things about St. Patrick’s Day is that celebrations — parades, parties and festivals — may be scheduled for weekends, but you can always count on another celebration on the 17th. The North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program continue their work, the mid-March anti-drunk driving campaign, through the 17th..
The campaign, “Booze It & Lose It,” kicked off, perhaps ominously, on Friday, March 13 and will wrap up tomorrow night. As usual, motorists can expect more patrols on local streets and sobriety checkpoints on busier routes.
Last year, more than 500 checkpoints went up across the state for the St. Patrick’s Day campaign. Almost 3,500 patrols monitored residential areas and downtowns. All told, police made 815 arrests for drunk driving. Wake County logged 92 DUIs.
It is by far a better idea to designate a driver or travel by transit or taxi than it is to get behind the wheel after even one drink. And remember that police aren’t just looking for impaired drivers. Citations for speeding, not buckling up, not using appropriate child seats and anything else will also be handed out. Look at thenumbers for last year if you have any doubts: Local and state police reported 815 DUIs, but they reported a total of 23,867 crimes and traffic violations during the March 14-17, 2014, Booze It & Lose It campaign.
A quick note for the designated drivers and drivers who are not partying: The state does not tolerate impatience, even during holiday reveling. It can be frustrating to be stuck behind slow drivers or to have to fight traffic at a time you usually have the road to yourself. With more patrols out, though, impatience behind the wheel could very well result in a citation for aggressive driving.
Aggressive driving is more than speeding and driving carelessly. A motorist must also be caught doing two of the following: running a red light or a stop sign, passing illegally, following too closely or failing to yield the right of way. Tailgating and passing on the right in exasperation, then, could put you in hot water.
There are so many times when it is OK to act like an idiot, but this kind of idiocy can kill you, your loved one or even some other idiot. It is just not worth the risk.
Governors Highway Safety Association, North Carolina highway safety laws, accessed online March 16, 2015
North Carolina Department of Transportation, Governor’s Highway Safety Program, “2014 St. Patrick’s Day ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign Totals (Mar. 14-17)”