Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
With kids back to school by the busload and the summer drawing to an end Labor Day weekend, law enforcement officials in southern Nash County are looking to take drunken drivers off the road.
Police in Bailey and Spring Hope are participating in a Booze It and Lose It campaign running now through Sept. 3.
Bailey Police Chief Steve Boraski said his officers already made 10 stops and wrote several tickets during the first weekend of the operation, which began Aug. 16.
With Labor Day traffic expected to be heavy along U.S. 264, Boraski encourages residents to slow down and practice caution.
During the most recent traffic enforcement campaign held during the July 4 holiday weekend, Nash County authorities reported a total of 393 traffic citations and criminal violations, including 22 driving while impaired charges, 32 seat belt violations and 107 speeding tickets.
“Speeders is what we’re looking for,” said Detective T. Bell of the Spring Hope Police Department.
Stopping speeders produces the best results in finding drunken drivers, Bell said.
The police force will set up license checkpoints, which produces results, but stopping speeders nets the most DWI arrests, Bell said.
The Middlesex Police Department isn’t participating in this particular campaign, but stopping speeders is always a priority for the department.
“We’ve probably stopped more speeders in the past six to eight months than have ever been stopped in town,” said Middlesex Police Chief Mike Collins. “We’re concerned about speeding, but we don’t want to be a speed trap. We want people to want to come to Middlesex.”
Collins said over the Labor Day weekend, just like every weekend, his officers will be looking for unsafe movement, expired license plates and other violations.
“We want people to abide by the law,” Collins said.
Labor Day celebrations combined with back-to-school traffic to make this time of year dangerous on highways, according to authorities.
Booze It and Lose It is recognized as one of the nation’s most effective anti-drunken-driving campaigns backed by education programs and intensive enforcement of impaired-driving laws, according to information from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
Motorists caught driving while impaired could face jail time, lose their driving privileges and pay an average of $10,000 in fines, towing fees and other expenses associated with a DWI.
Even with the success of Booze It and Lose It, more than 9,000 people have lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina since the program’s introduction in 1994.
Law enforcement agencies provided the following suggestions for morning and afternoon travel:
• Plan ahead for potential delays between the hours of 6-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.
• Never pass a stopped school bus under any circumstances.
• Reduce speeds when approaching school zones.
• Avoid driving distracted.
• Be mindful of school bus stops along chosen routes.
• Stay alert in and around school zones for pedestrians and crossing guards.