Law enforcement agencies in the Carolinas say they will make an extra effort to curb drunk driving over the Independence Day holiday weekend, which one study earlier this year showed to be the deadliest holiday for motorists.
State troopers in the two states have special campaigns under way, aimed at getting drunk drivers off the road.
In addition, the N.C. Highway Patrol says it will be watching for speeders and other aggressive drivers.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety earlier this year found that 20 of 36 traffic fatalities in the Carolinas last Independence Day weekend involved alcohol use.
In North Carolina, state troopers stopped nearly 2,000 drivers on DWI charges over the July 4 period in 2012. Numbers from South Carolina were not available.
Officials say alcohol use is common at Independence Day cookouts and other gatherings.
Motorists should make plans in advance to find a safe way home, by getting a designated driver or calling a cab, said David Parsons, CEO of AAA Carolinas.
Don Nail, newly appointed director of the N.C. Governors Highway Safety Program, said, The July 4th holiday is a time to make memories with family and friends, but those memories can easily turn tragic if you drink and drive.
Law enforcement agencies in both states are conducting a number of checkpoints between today and Sunday. And state highway patrols in Georgia and Virginia have announced similar efforts.
Motorists who speed or drive recklessly also will come under the spotlight of police.
The N.C. Highway Patrol said troopers are paying closest attention to motorists who speed, follow too closely, make erratic lane changes, or are spotted texting while driving.
Speed is the No. 1 factor in fatal collisions, and our troopers will be looking for aggressive drivers, drunk drivers, and other violators while patrolling throughout the state during the holiday week, said Highway Patrol commander Col. Bill Gray.
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