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State launches anti-drunken driving campaign for Fourth of July weekend


People should celebrate and have fun this Fourth of July, but anyone who drinks alcohol should not operate an automobile or boat.

That was the message from traffic safety officials and law enforcement officers at Wednesday’s launch in Raleigh of anti-drunken driving campaigns aimed at automobile drivers and boaters.

Officials gathered at the Falls Lake Upper Barton Creek Boating Access Area in Raleigh for Wednesday’s launch of the Operation Firecracker Booze It & Lose It and Operation Dry Water campaigns. 

“We want people to have a good time, but it’s never wise to drink and then operate a car, truck, boat or any vehicle,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “If you plan to drink alcohol this holiday weekend, or any day, rely on a designated driver, call a friend, or use a cab or a ride-sharing service.”

The Booze It & Lose It campaign began Monday and ends July 9, and the Dry Water campaign runs Friday through Monday. During the campaigns, officials are raising awareness about the dangers of drunken driving and increasing enforcement patrols to crack down on impaired drivers on roads and waterways. 

More than 32% of the state’s 65 traffic fatalities for the past five years of published data were alcohol-related, according to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ North Carolina 2021 Traffic Crash Facts report. State troopers will be on the lookout during the “Booze It & Lose It” campaign to crack down on drunken drivers. 

As part of Operation Dry Water, law enforcement officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will step up marine patrols to ensure boat drivers are sober on North Carolina’s waterways.

Alcohol use is the leading contributor in recreational boater deaths, according to the National Boating Under the Influence Awareness and Enforcement Campaign. 

Hosting Wednesday’s news conference were the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, U.S. Coast Guard, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, N.C. Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch and law enforcement. 

For more traffic safety tips, follow @NCGHSP on Facebook and @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram, and visit ncghsp.org. For boating safety tips and information on the Dry Water campaign, follow @NCWRC on Facebook and @ncwildlife on Twitter and Instagram, or visit ncwildlife.orgOn the Road, On the Water. Don’t Drink and Drive or Home – Operation Dry Water.

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North Carolina, drunken driving, state law enforcement, Fourth of July, boating