CHERRY POINT — The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program has a new weapon in its arsenal in the war against impaired driving during the Independence Day holiday – window chalk.
“As a show of solidarity during the campaign, which runs today through July 5, drivers are being asked to write the message (hashtag) #KeysFreeNC in window chalk on their vehicles to help encourage fellow North Carolinians to leave the keys behind if they are going to be drinking,” said NCGHSP director Mark Ezzell.
Drunk driving is historically high during the week leading up the Fourth of July, though previous community efforts are making an impact.
Last July 1-7, for instance, North Carolina experienced an 11 percent decrease in fatalities from the year prior.
To help encourage that downward trend, NCGHSP teamed up with Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to kick-off the annual statewide ‘Operation Firecracker’ ‘Booze It & Lose It’ enhanced enforcement campaign.
As part of the campaign, teams of MCASCP military, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders used roadside message boards to encourage safe, sober driving. More than 500 law enforcement agencies around the state are also increasing their presence this week and sharing these simple messages throughout their communities and online:
- This Drive-Through is to Remind You to Drive Sober this 4th of July.
- Booze It & Lose It. Don’t Drink and Drive.
- App your ride. Don’t Drink and Drive.
- Call a friend. Don’t Drink and Drive.
- Take public transportation. Don’t Drink and Drive.
- Take a cab. Don’t Drink and Drive.
- Show your support #KeysFreeNC
This year, amidst COVID-19, it’s unclear if impaired driving over the holiday weekend will plague our roadways.
But what is clear is that leaders statewide are concerned about the implications impaired driving will have on our state, particularly this upcoming holiday.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program released a video following today’s kick-off event.
The video includes messages of support from the NCGHSP’s director, Mark Ezzell, as well as Mikel Huber, Base Commander Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes and his office, Pastor M. Luther Hill, who serves as the Clinton Chapel AME ZION Church and the chaplain of the New Bern Police Department, and First Lady Kristen Cooper.
For those who have a social media platform, show NCGHSP how you are celebrating safely. Mention @NCGHSP on Facebook and tag @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram with #KeysFreeNC and #NCGHSP to show that you are celebrating safely.