Governor Roy Cooper marked the beginning of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program “Booze It & Lose It” campaign on Wednesday at a kick-off event for Operation Firecracker at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.
Operation Firecracker aims to prevent alcohol-related crashes by targeting impaired drivers during the July 4holiday season. In 2018 so far, 135 people have lost their lives as a result of alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina.
“We want people to enjoy their Fourth of July holiday with family and friends, and we want them to return home safely when the celebrations end,” Gov. Cooper said. “Law enforcement agencies will step up efforts to keep our roads safe during Operation Firecracker, and with their help we can prevent crashes and save lives.”
Law enforcement agencies across the state will participate in Operation Firecracker by running sobriety checkpoints in all 100 counties during the July 4 holiday week to help catch drunk drivers and reduce fatalities.
“Impaired drivers are jailed, charged and sentenced in our courtrooms every day due to this dangerous behavior, and it’s high time North Carolinians take a look at their habits behind the wheel and see the consequences they have on our great state,” said Guilford County District Court Judge Tom Jarrell, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) judicial official of the year.
Law enforcement and the judicial system play a role in this campaign, but Shane Ramos says people are at the center of the culture change needed to deaths due to impaired driving. Ramos is a tow truck driver and was struck by an impaired driver last month while working on a roadway in Nash County.
“If people would just practice safe drinking — call a friend, use ride-share services, take a cab, I would not be standing here before you and my partner, who was also hit, would not be without the use of his legs,” Ramos pleaded. “It’s simple — if you’ve been drinking and you choose to get behind the wheel, you are toying with lives, including your own.”
Operation Firecracker is underway now through July 8 across North Carolina.