RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - The State Highway Patrol will be stepping up its enforcement against impaired drivers during the New Year's holiday period, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said in a news release Wednesday.
"A little planning and common sense will ensure the New Year's holiday will be a time of celebration and optimism instead of a time of tragedy and mourning," McCrory said. "The Highway Patrol will be out in force to apprehend impaired drivers and enforce traffic laws in order to keep the New Year's holiday period as safe as possible."
Across the state, troopers investigated five fatal collisions and 139 injury-related collisions during last year's New Year's holiday period.
Troopers said in New Hanover County and Brunswick County, there has not been a fatal collision on New Year's Eve in recent years.
"We have been very fortunate in the last several years," said Sergeant Troy Pope. "I think dating back to 2011, we have not had any crashes that resulted in a fatality on New Year's Eve. If we can continue that tonight, that would be another year where we would consider tonight's activity and enforcement efforts a success."
He said they are increasing their presence on New Year's Eve and plan to have about three times the number of troopers on the road compared to a typical week night.
"This is a heavy night for us, in the past we have had significant amount of impaired driving arrests," said Pope. "We are going to make sure that people get home safe tonight. My ultimate hope is that we do not have any collisions and we surly don't have any that cause somebody their life."
In our area, Sergeant Pope said troopers are planning to conduct license checks at predetermined locations.
Highway Patrol is asking for motorists to report impaired drivers by dialing *HP or *47 on their cell phone.
"Holiday travel can be a very dangerous time on our highways if our motorists fail to drive responsibly," said Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina State Patrol. "We take impaired driving very seriously and urge everyone to make the right choice – don't drink and drive. Preventing drinking and driving must be a partnership between those who educate the public, those who enforce the law, and our citizens."