The North Carolina Department of Transportation and Governor’s Highway Safety Program has kicked off the 20th annual Booze It & Lose It campaign. The program is focused on keeping roads free of intoxicated drivers. Since Booze It and Lose It began in 1994, law enforcement officers have arrested 1.5 million drivers for drinking and driving. Even with so many offenders taken off the roads, 8,469 people have died in alcohol related crashes in the 19 years since the program started.
At a press conference and luncheon held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, officials from the NCDOT along with law enforcement officers from all over North Carolina met to recognize the serious issue of intoxicated driving and the success that Booze It & Lose It has had in combatting drinking and driving. Efforts to fight drinking and driving through increased patrols and checkpoints were discussed along with other initiatives such as joint programs with neighboring states.
Even with the success of programs such as Booze It & Lose It, drinking and driving continues to be a serious problem in the United States. Statistics show:
- On average, someone is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes.
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers and one out of every three is alcohol related.
- Each day, people drive drunk almost 300,000 times, but fewer than 4,000 are arrested.
- Drunk driving costs the United States $199 billion a year.
Hopefully Booze It & Lose It will continue to raise public awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. The efforts of the NCDOT, law enforcement and organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving are extremely important and they make it quite clear that drinking and driving will not be tolerated.