Authorities across NC increase patrols ahead of St. Patrick’s Day weekend

CHARLOTTE — Law enforcement will step up patrols across all 100 North Carolina counties ahead of St. Patrick’s Day weekend as a part of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program “Booze It & Lose It” from Mar. 14 to Mar. 20.

State officials are reminding people to never drink and drive.

“Drinking and driving can be deadly. Have a plan to get home safely so you don’t risk seriously injuring or killing yourself or someone else,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

Since 2018, 105 drivers have been seriously hurt or died in alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina during the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement campaign period.

Colonel Freddy L. Johnson Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol, says it’s difficult for officers to have to notify family of the death of their loved one.

“These tragic events and the lasting impacts they have on families can be avoided, so please do your part by planning ahead and ensuring you and your friends celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day responsibly,” said Johnson Jr.

In 2021, North Carolina had the most traffic deaths since 1973, with impaired driving being the leading cause of crashes.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation advises drivers to call a friend, take public transit, or call a cab if planning to drink.

Driving while impaired could mean jail time, losing your license, and an average of $10,000 in fines, according to NCDOT.

(WATCH BELOW: St. Patrick’s Day: What you need to know)