State drunken driving program makes 605 arrests over Halloween weekend

 The ghouls, ghosts and goblins were not the only scary thing out on Halloween weekend.

N.C. Police and Highway Patrol arrested 605 people during the Halloween weekend for driving while impaired — a slight increase from last year when 601 people were arrested.

557 of this year’s DWI arrests were alcohol related and 48 were drug related. Police made 53 arrests in Wake County, 42 in Guilford County and 27 in Forsyth County.

 The arrests were made by police departments participating in the Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s Halloween BOO-ze It & Lose It campaign to reduce drunken driving and educate the public about its risks.

Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, said the program was a response to the number of fatalities and crashes occurring in the state over Halloween weekend.

“Nationally, (Halloween) is known to be a weekend when folks tend to go out and drink a little bit more and, unfortunately, sometimes get behind the wheel impaired,” he said. “So two, we let anyone who might (drive while impaired) know that there will be an extra emphasis from the enforcement perspective to back up our educational efforts.”

LaRonda Scott, national senior manager of field fundraising for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said they support McCrory’s efforts to crack down on drunken driving during the Halloween weekend.

“(McCrory) has been a big supporter of eliminating substance-impaired driving … ,” she said. “For the communities, they can feel confident that officers are out there making sure that we are safe, our families are safe.”

Nail said the program was more successful this year because of greater involvement from law enforcement.

He said 65 percent of state Sheriff’s Departments and 75 to 80 percent of other state law enforcement agencies participated in the program.

“We are very encouraged that we had more law enforcement agencies engaged and out there on the lookout for folks that might be impaired,” He said. “We were also encouraged by the fact the number of DWIs wasn’t a lot higher, even though we had a lot more enforcement going on.”

Nail said he encourages anyone who intends to drink to have a plan to get home.

“I would really encourage everyone — not just during Halloween or Christmas, New Year’s — any of these holidays to plan ahead,” he said. “If they are going to be drinking, make sure they are not behind the wheel.”

By Ari Sen

@ArijitDSen

state@dailytarheel.com

Photo used as Creative Commons. 

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