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The statewide Booze It & Lose It campaign begins today and ends on January 1.

The program, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, aims to raise awareness and deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and all impairing substances.

“Festivities this time of year often involve alcohol consumption, which unfortunately leads to an increased risk of impaired driving,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the GHSP. “More than 25 percent of all North Carolina crash fatalities in 2022 involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol.” 

According to the state Department of Transportation, 471 alcohol related crash fatalities occurred in 2022. 

The Booze It & Lose It campaign, the GHSP said, is a sobering reminder that there are severe consequences for reckless behavior.

Now until January 1 law enforcement agencies throughout the state will increase the number of sobriety checkpoints and patrols in heavily trafficked areas. “These checkpoints reinforce the message that there is a zero-tolerance approach toward driving under the influence,” the GHSP said.

“The most important thing is to have a transportation plan before consumption of alcohol or drugs,” said Jennifer Lichtneger, executive director of North Carolina Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “It is essential to plan a safe ride before heading out. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking, you will already be too impaired to make the right decisions.” 

Plenty of options are available to help drivers arrive safely at their destination, like designating a sober driver or calling a taxi or rideshare service.