11/21/04 — 'Booze It, Lose It' returns for holidays

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'Booze It, Lose It' returns for holidays

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on November 21, 2004 2:05 AM

The upcoming four-day Thanksgiving weekend marks the start of the long year-end holiday season.

This year law-enforcement officers also will observe the 10th anniversary of the statewide "Booze It and Lose It" campaign to reduce drunken driving during the same period.

"Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff for the holiday party season," said Goldsboro police Maj. M.D. Hopper. "It's good for people to get together. But if they drink, they should drink responsibly and have a designated driver."

Hopper also noted that most restaurants and clubs in Goldsboro will make arrangements for a taxicab to take people home if they have had too much to drink.

"People need to take advantage of these programs. That's preferable over someone going out and injuring himself or others," Hopper said.

The statewide campaign started Friday with a kickoff in Raleigh. Police Sgt. Grayham Keesler attended the opening. The program extends through the Christmas and New Year's weekends to Jan. 2.

Goldsboro police and state Highway Patrol troopers will be conducting routine checkpoints, concentrating on getting impaired drivers off the roads. But they also will be looking for speeders, reckless drivers, seat-belt violators and others who create unsafe traffic conditions.

First Sgt. T.C. McLeod, who supervises the Wayne County district of the Highway Patrol, said his troopers will conduct routine saturation patrols in heavy traffic areas. They also will hold numerous driver's license checks.

Two of the state's Breath Alcohol Testing buses, or BAT-mobiles, will come to Wayne County during the period. Any suspected impaired driver can be tested immediately in the bus so that officers will not have to wait up to two hours to take a suspect to the breathalyzer room in the County Courthouse.

Police will hold a large checkpoint next weekend, and the Highway Patrol will hold one later during the period.

Hopper said other agencies, including the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and municipal police departments, are being invited to participate.

Hopper said he hoped the number of those arrested will be down this year.

During the same six-week period in 2003, police charged 38 people with driving while impaired, 40 with seat-belt violations and three with child-restraint violations. They issued 1,121 total criminal charges.