North Carolina Highway Patrol warns of extra patrols over Labor Day weekend is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Highway Patrol officers will increase patrols this weekend to cut down on drunken driving. (Courtesy photo.)
Highway Patrol officers will increase patrols this weekend to cut down on drunken driving. (Courtesy photo.)

NORTH CAROLINA – The North Carolina Highway Patrol is warning all North Carolinians that it will increase patrols on North Carolina highways during the holiday weekend, looking for impaired drivers, speeders and reckless drivers, as well as assisting motorists in need.

Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer, the agency stated through a press release. As such, “North Carolinians will be traveling and gathering with family and friends. The Highway Patrol wants everyone to make safety a top priority this holiday weekend by encouraging motorists to drive carefully and obey all traffic laws.”

For the purposes of this enforcement, the Labor Day holiday period officially begins at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2, and ends at 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5, the release states.

Last year in North Carolina, troopers investigated 10 fatal collisions and 365 injury collisions over the Labor Day weekend. Three of those collisions were attributed to impaired driving, the release states.

According to the Center for Disease Control, from 2003 to 2012, over 4,000 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in North Carolina alone.

“To reduce needless deaths from occurring, in 2015 troopers made over 21,000 arrests for driving while impaired,” the release states. “Despite these efforts, the Highway Patrol is asking motorists to do their part as well.”

Bill Grey commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, is asking “everyone to think safety first.”

“Please designate a sober driver and obey all the traffic laws,” Grey said through the release. “Working together we can make a difference and save lives.”

In that regard, the Highway Patrol notes that the best way to prevent someone you know from driving drunk is to plan ahead for a sober, designated driver when making plans.

The agency also offered tips on how to handle a situation in which a person who is impaired is attempting to drive:

Be as non-confrontation as possible; Suggest alternatives, such as taxis, public transportation or a sober driver; suggest they sleep over, if possible, and explain that you do not want them to hurt themselves or others.

The Highway Patrol points out that, in this situation, remember that the person you are talking to is impaired.’ The release states.

If needed, enlist a friend or friends to act as moral support.

“It’s more difficult to say ‘no’ to two (or three or four) people than one,” the release states. “If possible, get the person’s keys. It is far easier to persuade the potential driver when you hold this leverage.

“If all else fails, call law enforcement,” the release states. “It’s better to have a friend arrested than injured or killed.”

If you observe someone who you believe to be driving while impaired or driving in a careless and reckless manner, you can dial *HP (*47) on your cell phone. The call is toll free. Callers should be prepared to assist the dispatcher by giving a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, location and direction of travel.