Troopers urge motorists to slow down
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 22, 2006
AHOSKIE – The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to slow down and work with the Patrol to ensure everyone has a safe holiday season this year.
“We are expecting a very busy time on the highways here in our area,” said 1st Sgt. Kenny Pitts of the Troop A-2 District office in Ahoskie. “In that regard, we will have every available trooper working in order to do what we do 365 days a year n promote safety and save lives. We don’t slack up just because the holidays are here.”
Pitts said the 22 fatalities thus far this year in the A-2 District (Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties) concerns him as the busy holiday season arrives.
“We do not want to see this joyous time of the year marred by a tragic accident,” he noted. “Please drive safety by obeying all the traffic laws, including the speed limit. As always, we urge all motorists to buckle-up and especially make sure that their young passengers are properly restrained in child safety seats. And please, if you are an adult and choose to consume an adult beverage, act responsibly and let someone sober do the driving.”
The 2006 Christmas holiday travel period began yesterday (Friday) and continues through midnight on Monday, January 1.
Last year during the Christmas and New Year holiday week, 32 people were killed and 1,229 people were injured in traffic collisions statewide. The leading cause of those collisions was speed.
To date, 1,138 people have been killed on North Carolina highways; 12 more than last year at this time.
Troopers will be conducting DWI checkpoints and strictly enforcing the state’s DWI laws.
The Patrol will be increasing the number of Troopers on the interstates and heavily traveled corridors.
Additionally Troopers will crackdown on motorists who are driving recklessly or traveling at excessive speeds.
“Help the Highway Patrol reduce the number of traffic collisions by obeying the laws and using common sense when traveling,” said Colonel W. Fletcher Clay, Patrol Commander. “Drinking and driving do not mix; make the right choice n don’t drink and drive.”
During the holidays, the Patrol will also be participating in the state’s “Booze It and Lose It” anti-drunk driving campaign and the national Combined Accident Reduction Effort, (C.A.R.E).
Sobriety checkpoints are being held throughout the state during the entire week.
Motorists with cellular phones can report safety hazards to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) toll free.
According to AAA, more than 1.62 million North Carolinians will drive more than 50 miles from home this holiday season, a 3.7 percent increase over last year.
“This is a joyous time of year but also a dangerous one as our highways experience increased congestion at a time when weather conditions can be fickle,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Patience, courtesy and common sense are three excellent ingredients for holiday travel.”
Small towns and rural areas are the expected destination for 43 percent of Carolina holiday travelers, followed by cities at 30 percent.
Meanwhile, motorists won’t get much relief from high gas prices; up nine cents in North Carolina from last year.
With record numbers of motorists expected on the road this weekend, families should take extra measures to ensure safety on the highway.
AAA recommends drivers take a break every two hours or 150 miles. Getting out and stretching a bit will reenergize your brain as well as pump blood to your muscles.
Keep in tune to weather reports and have necessary tools on hand if you will be driving in snow.
On extra long trips, AAA recommends motorists switch drivers – preferably with someone who has been sitting in the back seat. Passengers sitting in the front seat with the driver are paying attention to the road as well and can experience just as much fatigue as the driver.
Be sure to have a designated driver for holiday parties.
Listen to your body. Our bodies want to sleep at night and mid-afternoon, so try to avoid driving long distances at those times.
Follow the rules of the road by not speeding, wearing your seat belt and never driving while intoxicated.
Michael F. Easley
Bryan E. Beatty
State of North Carolina
Department of Crime Control and Public Safety
ImmediateContact: Lt. Everett Clendenin
Date:December 18, 2006Phone:
4701 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4701
Fax (919) 733-0296