• 61°

NCHP urges caution during busy travel weekend

Memorial Day weekend can be a time for fun and relaxation.

It can also be a time when people are not careful on the roadways, leading to accidents, injury and even death.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to be careful as they enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.

“Speed is one of the top contributing factors in collisions,” said N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. R.W. Sawyer of the Troop A District II office in Ahoskie. “We encourage everyone to watch your speed and obey the posted limits especially through towns where the speed limits drop and in work zones.”

Another area of emphasis for the NCHP will be seat belts.

“We encourage everyone to wear their seat belts,” Sgt. Sawyer added. “Troopers will be out in full force this weekend and we’ll be checking for speeding and seat belts as well as for impaired drivers.

“We advise everyone to leave in plenty of time to reach your destination, buckle up and arrive safely so you can enjoy the weekend with family and friends,” he added.

Sgt. Sawyer said there would be local checkpoints looking for impaired drivers as well as increased patrols o nab speeders.

Statewide, there will an increase of patrols on all interstates and major four lane highways during the holiday weekend.

“Memorial Day is the beginning of a busy travel season across the state,” said Colonel Randy Glover, State Highway Patrol Commander. “We are asking all motorists to buckle up and be extremely careful when traveling to their various destinations.

“I have instructed our Troopers to aggressively crack down on motorists who are speeding and driving recklessly.”

The Highway Patrol will also join other law enforcement agencies at “Click-It or Ticket” seatbelt checkpoints across the state throughout the week, and Troopers will be participating in the nationwide “Operation C.A.R.E.” (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). “Operation C.A.R.E.” is a coordinated education and enforcement effort involving all Highway Patrol and state police agencies across the nation. These high visibility patrols during national holiday periods are designed to prevent crashes and ensure voluntary compliance with the motor vehicle laws.

The Memorial Day holiday, which is set aside to honor deceased men and women from the Armed Forces, is expected to be a busy one on North Carolina highways. The holiday weekend officially begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 28, and ends at midnight, Monday, May 31. Last year 12 motorists died and 385 were injured in traffic collisions investigated by the NC Highway Patrol over the Memorial Day holiday.

Citizens may report crashes, impaired drivers, stranded motorists or other highway situations to the Highway Patrol by dialing * HP (*47) on their cellular telephones. This is a toll free call that connects the caller to the nearest Highway Patrol communications center.