Students attempting to drink and drive this St. Patrick’s Day might face enhanced driver checkpoints as part of the state’s “Booze It and Lose It” campaign.
This statewide effort goes along with national highway transportation guidelines, said Beth Horner, spokeswoman for the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. It features an increased number of checkpoints and multiple police patrols to enforce drunken driving laws.
“Our main mission is to bring awareness to the importance of not drinking and driving,” Horner said.
If caught, drunken drivers could lose their license as a penalty.
The campaign is regularly implemented for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day, when alcohol consumption tends to increase.
Last year, there were more than 850 DWI arrests in accordance with the St. Patrick’s Day campaign statewide, Horner said. Fourteen of those arrests were in Orange County.
She said she is not aware of any campaign activities for college campuses, but local law enforcement agencies carry out their own events.
There is no specific initiative on the UNC campus for “Booze It and Lose It,” said Randy Young, spokesman for the University’s Department of Public Safety.
“Chapel Hill may have checkpoints going on in conjunction with state highway patrol,” he said.
The department always attends to the problem of drunken drivers, Young said.
They see all kinds of celebrations that might involve alcohol, from home football games to St. Patrick’s Day, he said.
Young said only a small percentage of people on the UNC campus use cars and many use public transportation, like the P2P, to go out on Franklin Street.
Ana Lima, a UNC sophomore education major, said she remembered checkpoints and warnings against drinking and driving during the Halloween celebrations on campus.
“If you don’t have it, people feel that they can do anything,” she said.
Lima said students might abuse the opportunity to celebrate and drink, especially right after Spring Break.
Horner said the statewide campaign is expected to find many drunken drivers this year.
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