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Data reveals change in driver behavior critical for safer NC roadways

There were fewer DWI arrests during this year's "Booze It & Loose It" campaign than the previous year.
N.C. Department of Transportation

GARNER — The holiday “Booze It & Lose It” impaired driving prevention and enforcement campaign, which ran Dec. 14 to Jan. 2, showed a drop in total DWI arrests compared to last year’s campaign.

“These numbers mean that a combination of education and enforcement is improving safety across North Carolina roadways,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

Over the course of this year’s three-week holiday campaign, there were 2,029 DWI arrests reported across all 100 counties; last year, there were 2,528 DWI arrests.

While that shows a significant drop, the DWI arrest figure was still more than 2,000.

“This remains a serious problem with serious consequences, and these drivers are ruining their lives and threatening the lives of those around them,” Ezzell continued.

Here are some sobering nationwide statistics: 

  • In 2017, there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, accounting for 29 percent of all crash fatalities. 
  • Last year, almost one in five children (14 and younger) killed in traffic crashes were killed in drunk-driving crashes. More than half of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk. 
  • Despite the fact that it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, in 2017 one person was killed every 48 minutes in a drunk-driving crash on our nation’s roads. 
  • Men are more likely than women to be involved in fatal drunk-driving crashes. 
  • In 2017, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than any other type of motor vehicle driver (27 percent for motorcycle riders, 21 percent for passenger car drivers, 20 percent for light-truck drivers, and 3 percent for drivers of large trucks). 

Drunk drivers face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and many other unanticipated expenses, including attorney’s fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost wages due to time off from work. In fact, the average DUI court case costs approximately $10,000. 


“People are dying every hour on our highways, and it’s other drivers who are wielding the weapons of impaired driving, distracted driving, and ambivalence,” Ezzell added.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program helps reduce traffic crashes and fatalities in North Carolina by planning, implementing and funding local and state safety programs. These programs include safe-driving initiatives like Click It or Ticket, Booze It & Lose It, BikeSafe NC, Watch For Me NC, Speed a Little. Lose a Lot, and North Carolina’s Vision Zero initiative.

Follow GHSP on Facebook and Instagram for real-time engagement. #BeSmarterThanThat, #BoozeIt&LoseIt, #NCGHSP, #NCDOT

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