News Releases

9/19/2014: Child Passenger Safety Week Concludes with Seat Check Saturday

Child Passenger Safety Week Concludes with Seat Check Saturday

Posted 9/19/2014 2:56:36 PM

RALEIGH – Seat Check Saturday marks the conclusion of Child Passenger Safety week, and the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program remind parents there is still time to ensure your child is in the right child safety seat. On Saturday, Sept. 20, parents and caregivers can stop at one of 87 permanent checking stations across the state, where nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will check their car seats and booster seats to be sure they are properly installed and appropriate for the child’s age, weight and height. For a list of locations participating in Seat Check Saturday, as well as those offering seat check services year-round, visit BuckleUpNC.org.  Nationwide, vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children 1 to 13 years old . In 2013, more than 54,000 children under the age of 16 were involved in car crashes on North Carolina highways. Of the 36 children killed in those crashes, 25 percent were not secured in a child safety seat or wearing a seat belt. The North Carolina Child Passenger Safety Law requires children younger than age 16 to be properly restrained in an age, weight and height appropriate restraint. To learn more about Child Passenger Safety Week and the state’s occupant restraint laws, visit the GHSP website or BuckleUpNC.org. ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

9/16/2014: Nearly 2,800 DWI Arrests Made during Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign

Nearly 2,800 DWI Arrests Made during Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign

Posted 9/16/2014 2:19:00 PM

RALEIGH – The Labor Day holiday ushers in the start of school and football season, and signals the end of summer – marking a time many people decide to celebrate with alcohol. The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program worked closely with law enforcement officers statewide to keep drunk drivers off the road during the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign. Today, they announced that 2,757 people were arrested across North Carolina from Aug. 15 to Sept. 1 for making the life-threatening decision to drive after drinking. “Law enforcement continues to work hard day and night to make our roads safer,” said Don Nail, GHSP director. “Arresting an average of 153 drunk drivers a day is no small feat. However, our goal is zero; zero drunk drivers and zero drunk driving arrests.” The top five counties for DWI arrests during the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign include: • Wake County with 316 DWI arrests; • Guilford County with 192 DWI arrests; • Mecklenburg County with 150 DWI arrests; • Robeson County with 113 DWI arrests; and • Forsyth County with 112 DWI arrests. In addition to DWI arrests, local and state law enforcement officers issued 102,209 traffic and criminal citations statewide at 9,642 checking stations and patrols. They also issued citations for 6,722 safety belt and 1,083 child passenger safety violations; 27,820 speeding violations; 604 work zone violations and 3,137 drug charges. In addition, they apprehended 2,874 fugitives from justice and recovered 217 stolen vehicles. For more information regarding “Booze It & Lose It” activities and county totals, contact Heather Jeffreys at (919) 707-2660 or visit the GHSP website. ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

8/15/2014: Governor’s Highway Safety Program Marks 20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It”

Governor’s Highway Safety Program Marks 20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It”

Posted 8/15/2014 4:14:11 PM

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program today kicked off the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, which runs through Sept. 1. As part of the campaign’s launch, NCDOT and GHSP held a luncheon in Charlotte to recognize the 20th anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It” in North Carolina. Over the past two decades, the state has made great strides to save lives by increasing public awareness about the dangers of driving drunk and stepping up high visibility enforcement efforts to catch those who make the bad decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. “North Carolina has always tackled issues head on,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “Twenty years ago, we knew our state had a problem with drinking and driving. We partnered with law enforcement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other government agencies to pool our resources to make a real difference. Getting drunk drivers off the road has been and will continue to be one of our top priorities.” GHSP started working with MADD in the 1980s to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, and reinforce the message that lives lost to drunk driving are 100 percent preventable. This team approach to improving safety gained momentum as GHSP partnered with former Gov. Jim Martin’s administration, MADD, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Forensics Test for Alcohol branch, the N.C. Department of Insurance, the Highway Safety Research Center, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and law enforcement to combat the issue. Extraordinary cooperation and commitment resulted in the “Booze It & Lose It” initiative launching in North Carolina in 1994. Since the campaign’s inception, officers have arrested nearly 1.5 million drivers for driving while intoxicated. Despite increased enforcement efforts, 8,469 individuals lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes from 1994 to 2013. Despite two decades of education, awareness and enforcement, people are still making the life-threatening decision to drink and drive. Therefore, the “Booze It & Lose It” partners are constantly looking for new ways to catch drunk drivers and prevent crashes. In 1996, NC DHHS Forensics Test for Alcohol and GHSP launched the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit. The BAT Mobile can go anywhere and assists law enforcement by providing the ability to test suspected impaired drivers on the scene. Today, there are six in operation with plans to expand the fleet in the near future. In addition to the BAT Mobile, DWI task forces are in operation in areas with the highest number of DWI-related deaths. There are currently nine DWI task forces across the state, located in the following counties, which are dedicated solely to getting drunk drivers off the roads: Forsyth;Guilford;Wake;Mecklenburg;Buncombe;Robeson;Columbus;New Hanover; andBrunswick. The public awareness and education component continues to evolve, as well. The data show males 18-34 are the top offenders when it comes to drunk driving. In an effort to reach this key population and change their behavior, NCDOT and GHSP have produced a new public service announcement that will begin running today on television and digital media. Non-traditional media will also play a significant role in spreading the word about the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign. GHSP is sharing its anti-drinking and driving messages on Pandora, Facebook and Twitter, as well in restaurants and bars with posters and coasters reminding patrons to have a designated driver. The Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign begins today, Aug. 15 and ends on Sept. 1. During that time, law enforcement officers will step up patrols statewide day and night, and cite those who make the decision to drive drunk. ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

8/7/2014: Seat Belt Usage Tops 90 Percent In North Carolina

Seat Belt Usage Tops 90 Percent In North Carolina

Posted 8/7/2014 11:53:54 AM

Raleigh – Governor Pat McCrory and North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata announced today that 90.6 percent of drivers and passengers in North Carolina are wearing their seat belts. According to the annual seat belt survey completed in June, North Carolina has now achieved the highest seat belt usage rate in state history.   “As the first state to the launch the 'Click It or Ticket' campaign in 1993, North Carolina has long been recognized as a national leader in highway safety,” said Governor McCrory. “We re-emphasize that role today with the results of this survey, which show that a record number of North Carolina motorists are now making the smart decision to buckle up.”     The increase in seat belt usage, particularly among passengers, is due in large part to the joint efforts of the N.C. Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and law enforcement agencies across the state, who partnered throughout the month of May to increase “Click It or Ticket” education and enforcement efforts.   "I’m proud of the ongoing teamwork that has resulted in our state’s highest seat belt usage rate ever,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “More importantly, I am proud of what these numbers mean – that our citizens are making good decisions that result in more lives saved on our highways.  We will continue to work with the public and law enforcement in our goal to reach 100 percent compliance with the law and zero highway deaths.”   The May “Click It or Ticket” campaign was developed using data from last year’s seat belt survey. This data-driven approach ensured that the outreach efforts successfully reached the right people with the right message.   “Last year’s seat belt survey showed us that passengers were buckling up less often than drivers,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “With our partners in law enforcement and at NCDOT, we focused our public awareness campaign and enforcement efforts to ensure more passengers knew of and complied with the law requiring them to wear their seat belts just like drivers do.”   During the campaign, local law enforcement and the N.C. Highway Patrol increased patrols in the 25 counties with the highest number of unbelted fatalities and citations, and issued citations day and night to drivers and passengers who were not buckled up.   NCDOT launched an extensive statewide public awareness campaign, focusing on unbuckled passengers in May in conjunction with the increased enforcement effort. It included a new public service announcement - “Every Seat. Every Time.” - that reminded motorists that the law requires you to buckle up no matter where you sit. The PSA was tailored to young males 18-34 who the data show are least likely to buckle up in any seat. The “Every Seat. Every Time.” message was also advertised on the radio, at gas stations, in restaurants and bars, and on social media.  Following the May campaign, North Carolina’s overall seatbelt rate increased 2 percent to 90.6 percent, surpassing 90 percent for the first time. Passenger usage increased 4.8 percent to 89.7 percent, and driver usage increased 1.3 percent to 90.9 percent.   Mecklenburg County had the highest seatbelt usage at 95.6 percent. Franklin County had the lowest seatbelt usage rate at 86.5 percent.    Female drivers buckled up more often than males (93.1 percent versus 89.2 percent), and young drivers ages 16-24 are buckling up 89.1 percent of the time, compared to 85.5 percent last year.     The annual seatbelt survey was conducted throughout the month of June at 120 sites in 15 counties across the state. Trained spotters observed driver and front seat passengers of stopped or nearly stopped vehicles. Observation data was collected during rush hours (weekdays between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., or 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.), non-rush hours (weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) and on weekends (Saturday or Sunday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.). The Research Triangle Institute certified the survey results last week.     The Research Triangle Institute selects counties that offer a representative sample of North Carolina, based on a variety of criteria including county size and fatality rate.     For more information and survey county results, contact NCDOT Marketing Specialist Heather Jeffreys at (919) 707-2665 or visit the GHSP website.                                                                                 ***NCDOT***                                                                                     
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

6/27/2014: “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” is Underway

“Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” is Underway

Posted 6/27/2014 9:54:38 AM

RALEIGH – The Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for many North Carolinians.  Families and friends gather across the state to celebrate our nation’s independence with parades, parties and fireworks. The celebration often includes alcohol, and the holiday can quickly go from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking. The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program remind you to avoid driving after drinking, or you will get caught. “On Independence Day or any other day of the year, if you are driving after drinking, law enforcement will be working to keep you off the roads,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Driving after even one drink is risking your life and the lives of others. It’s simple – just don’t do it. Get a ride home from someone that has not been drinking.” In 2013, there were 353 alcohol-related fatalities in North Carolina. Fewer people have lost their lives to alcohol-related crashes this year, with statistics showing 105 alcohol-related fatalities through June 20, compared to 164 at the same point last year. Stepped up saturation patrols, checking stations and increased public awareness are all playing a role in ensuring that those who decide to drink don’t drive. To keep our state trending in the right direction and continue saving lives, NCDOT and GHSP recommend these simple tips to prevent drunk driving: • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins; • Before drinking, designate a sober driver; • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation; • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement; • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely. Stepped up enforcement for “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” continues through July 6. For more information regarding “Booze It & Lose It” activities, contact Heather Jeffreys at (919) 707-2660 or visit the GHSP website. ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov