The North Carolina State Highway Patrol recently concluded its campaign to help make its highways safe during the 2006 Fourth of July holiday. Labeled Operation Firecracker the effort established 5,200 ‘Booze It & Lose It’ checkpoints and stepped up patrols across the state. The aim was to identify those driving under the influence or driving while
Designed to reduce impaired driving during the Independence Day Holiday, Operation Firecracker was unveiled June 29 by a distinguished group that included Darrell Jernigan, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and Miss North Carolina USA Samantha Holvey. They encouraged motorists to make the right decision during the holiday and not drink and drive. Operation Firecracker ran through July 9.
The highly visible enforcement effort utilized special mobile Breath Alcohol Testing mobile units, also known as BATmobiles. A total of 1,742 North Carolina motorists were arrested for DWI violations during Operation Firecracker. At the conclusion of the campaign Mr. Jernigan was quoted as saying, “(law enforcement officers) efforts to remove impaired drivers from our roads allowed more friends and families to celebrate together.” In 2005 there were 41 traffic fatalities during the week of the Independence Day holiday, and sixteen were alcohol related. Alcohol related crashes also accounted for 225 injuries in North Carolina during that same time. The counties with the highest number of DWI citations during this year’s Operation Firecracker campaign were Mecklenburg County with 154 DWI arrests, Carteret with 70 and Durham with 69.
Operation Firecracker is the first of many ‘Booze It & Lose It’ campaigns scheduled for 2006.