News Releases

12/12/2014: 20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It” Commemorated with New Website, Video Series

20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It” Commemorated with New Website, Video Series

Posted 12/12/2014 12:24:32 PM

RALEIGH – The holidays are a joyous time of year often celebrated by gathering with friends and family. Too often, though, people make the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. This choice can lead to deadly consequences, as it did for the 378 people who lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes on North Carolina roadways last year, including 35 in December alone. “The safety of our citizens is my top priority, especially during the holiday season,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “I encourage everyone to plan ahead and designate a sober driver when alcohol is involved to ensure they get home safely. Law enforcement officers will be out day and night to catch drivers who break the law.” Although the number of drunk driving deaths in North Carolina has consistently declined year after year, drinking and driving continues to be responsible for nearly 28 percent of fatalities on our state’s roads. To raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving and show how it impacts lives, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program kicked off the Holiday “Booze It & Lose It” campaign earlier today in Asheville and launched BoozeItandLoseIt.org.   The centerpiece of the new website is the “20|20 Hindsight” video series, which includes 20 personal stories illustrating from very different perspectives the dire consequences of drinking and driving. Each video concludes with the message “See the stories. Learn the Lessons.” The goal of that message is to encourage those who visit the website to take the stories to heart and do their part to save lives by never getting behind the wheel after drinking.  “These powerful stories are a reminder that every alcohol-related crash has a face and a devastating impact on families," said Mike Charbonneau, Deputy Secretary of Communications. “One crash and death is too many and we hope that our ‘20|20 Hindsight’ series resonates with drivers to help us eliminate these tragedies." 229,103 alcohol-related crashes and 8,469 deaths have occurred on North Carolina highways since 1994, when the ‘Booze It & Lose It’ campaign started. In addition to the“20|20 Hindsight” video series, BoozeItandLoseIt.org also provides a history of “Booze It & Lose It,” national and statewide statistics, safety tips and an overview of North Carolina’s current DWI law. The Holiday “Booze It & Lose It” campaign begins today, Dec. 12, and runs through Jan. 4, 2015. For additional information about “Booze It & Lose It”, contact 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

12/5/2014: “Tree of Life” Commemorates Lives Lost on North Carolina’s Highways in 2013

“Tree of Life” Commemorates Lives Lost on North Carolina’s Highways in 2013

Posted 12/5/2014 7:38:45 PM

RALEIGH – The annual “Tree of Life” was illuminated this evening on the grounds of the State Capitol in memory of the 1,278 lives lost on North Carolina highways last year. Representatives from the N.C. Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and law enforcement agencies from across the state joined families and friends of the victims to honor the lives lost and bring awareness to the dangers of drunk driving. The “Tree of Life” is lit with red and white lights, with 378 red lights memorializing the 378 victims of alcohol related crashes and 900 white lights commemorating the lives lost in all other vehicle crashes in 2013. Following the tree lighting, the group held a candlelight vigil in memory of those who died as the result of an impaired driver. “I hope tonight’s ceremony and this tree will not only pay tribute to these individuals, but also build awareness that will help prevent similar tragedies from occurring,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “As the busy holiday season approaches, I urge everyone who gets behind the wheel to make smart decisions that can often mean the difference between life and death.” Secretary Tata spoke at the ceremony and was joined by GHSP Director Don Nail, NC MADD Director LaRonda Scott and Saundra Dockery. Saundra’s daughter, Tiffany, was a pedestrian that was hit and killed by an impaired driver. So far this year, North Carolina has seen 1,062 fatalities on its roadways, which is a slight decrease from the 1,064 deaths that occurred during the same time period in 2013. Alcohol related deaths have also declined a bit, with 294 year-to date compared to 309 at the same time last year. “Lighting the ‘Tree of Life’ continues to be a very moving experience year after year, knowing that each light represents a life lost,” said Don Nail, director of GHSP. “I look forward to the day we are able to celebrate an evergreen ‘Tree of Life’ with no lights at all.” GHSP reminds motorists that they should never take a holiday from safe driving. Drivers and passengers are urged to plan ahead to secure a sober driver and buckle up in every seat, every time.  Drivers are also reminded to obey the speed limit and avoid distractions while traveling. The “Tree of Life” will remain on display at the State Capitol through Jan. 4, 2015. ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

11/24/2014: Don’t Be a Turkey. Buckle Up!

Don’t Be a Turkey. Buckle Up!

Posted 11/24/2014 9:26:54 AM

RALEIGH – Every year, thousands of people travel on North Carolina’s roadways to spend time with loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday. For most of them, it’s a trip full of family, food and fellowship. But, for those travelers that don’t buckle up, the trip may not have such a happy ending. “If you are involved in a crash, wearing a seat belt reduces your risk of critical injury or death by 50 percent,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the busy holiday travel season, and it is the perfect time to remind North Carolinians to buckle up no matter where in the car they sit.” During the Thanksgiving “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which begins today and continues through Sunday, Nov. 30, law enforcement officers across the state will be out day and night to keep those who drive our highways safe.  While North Carolina reached a milestone in June by achieving a seat belt usage rate over 90 percent for the first time, November remains one of the top months for unbelted fatalities, particularly among 18-34 year-old males. The N.C. Department of Transportation  and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program offer these safety tips for drivers and passengers as they travel this Thanksgiving: • Buckle Up. Every Seat. Every Time.; • Don’t drink and drive. Make sure you have a sober designated driver; • Obey the speed limit; • Keep a safe following distance; • Turn on your headlights in the rain; and • Put away all distractions including cell phones - it can wait. For more information regarding “Click It or Ticket” 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

11/12/2014: Nearly 600 Drunk Drivers Arrested in North Carolina During Halloween “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign

Nearly 600 Drunk Drivers Arrested in North Carolina During Halloween “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign

Posted 11/12/2014 3:39:27 PM

RALEIGH – During this year’s Halloween “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, law enforcement officers from across the state arrested 583 drunk drivers before they could create real life nightmares on North Carolina’s roadways.  “The safety and security of our citizens is a top priority of our administration and North Carolina’s law enforcement,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “North Carolina’s ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign is saving lives in our state and I’m proud of their efforts on Halloween, and every day of the year.” The top five counties for DWI arrests during the Halloween “Booze It & Lose It” campaign include: •    Wake County with 69 DWI arrests; •    Mecklenburg County with 61 DWI arrests; •    Forsyth County with 33 DWI arrests; •    Guilford County with 27 DWI arrests; and •    Brunswick County with 21 DWI arrests. Nearly 400 law enforcement agencies participated in the Halloween “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, which ran from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. Officers issued 16,854 traffic and criminal citations at 1,701 checking stations and saturation patrols across the state. To complement the increased enforcement efforts, the N.C. Department of Transportation and Governor’s Highway Safety Program expanded their use of Twitter and Facebook to remind drivers to designate a sober driver. In particular, they used social media to target males 18-34 years old, which research shows are more likely to drink and drive. For more information regarding “Booze It & Lose It” activities and county totals, contact 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

10/17/2014: NCDOT to Emphasize Top Five Tips during National Teen Driver Safety Week

NCDOT to Emphasize Top Five Tips during National Teen Driver Safety Week

Posted 10/17/2014 4:12:15 PM

RALEIGH – Car crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in North Carolina. In an effort to save young lives, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program are partnering during National Teen Driver Safety Week, which starts Sunday, to educate teens about the top five ways they can stay safe behind the wheel. “Teen drivers ages 16-20 comprise just 7 percent of the population in North Carolina, yet they accounted for 13 percent of all crashes and 9 percent of fatal crashes last year,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “In order to bring those numbers down to zero, we ask parents to help emphasize our safety messages and teens to follow the rules of the road.” National Teen Driver Safety Week seeks to boost teen driver safety by challenging parents to engage their teens in ongoing discussion about critical driving practices that could prevent them from being involved in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The “5 to Drive” rules are: 1.         No Drinking and Driving. 2.         Buckle Up. Every Seat. Every Time. 3.         Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. 4.         Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. 5.         No More than One Passenger at a Time. GHSP encourages teens and their parents to visit Safety City at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh to learn firsthand about driving safety and interact with many of the “5 to Drive” elements. At Safety City, fairgoers can tour GHSP’s Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit, ride in seatbelt convincers that simulate a crash at 5-7 mph, and see the aftermath of a distracted driving crash. Safety City is located behind Dorton Arena and open each day from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. All activities and materials are free of charge. In 2012, young drivers 16-20 years old were involved in 45,517 crashes in North Carolina. Young male drivers were involved in 53 percent of those crashes. Of the fatal crashes involving 16-20 year old drivers and passengers, 60 percent were not wearing their seatbelts, which is why GHSP reminds everyone that it is North Carolina law to buckle up – every seat, every time. National Teen Driver Safety Week begins Oct. 19 and runs through Oct. 25. For more information about it and NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign, visit http://www.safercar.gov/parents/fivetodrive.htm.   ***NCDOT***
View on NCDOT.gov