DURHAM — While the end of the year brings about the merriment of the holiday season, it also brings out impaired drivers.
In an effort to remove drunk drivers from North Carolina roadways, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program teams up with law enforcement around the state to kick off the annual Holiday “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign.
During the campaign, which lasts from Dec. 16 until Jan. 5, law enforcement will hold enhanced patrols across all 100 counties to catch and educate impaired drivers.
This year’s statewide kickoff event was held at Diamond View Park in Durham with the support of Mayor Steve Schewel, Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry, Durham County Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead, officials from the Durham Police Department and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Amongst the dignitaries was one of the most powerful voices in the campaign against drunk driving, Ms. Nichole Hutchinson, a nationally recognized voice in the fight.
“On September 13, 1996, my little sister Darcie was killed by a three-time drunk driving offender,” Hutchinson said.
“It’s all about choices. You make the right choices and what they should be. Is it a choice to have a sober designated driver, is it a choice to call a ride share? I’m asking everyone to make the safe choice,” Hutchinson said.
“When you have a plan in place your odds of getting home safer are that much greater,” Hutchinson concluded.
“The holiday season is one of the deadliest on North Carolina roadways with impaired driving being one of the main causes,” said Mark Ezzell, Director of the NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
“Around the state 422 lives were claimed in 2018 due to drunk driving. In 2018, Durham county was among the top ten counties for people killed in total crashes and alcohol-related crashes. Though impaired driving crashes are down considerably so far this year, there is still much work to do,” Ezzell concluded.