According to the American Automobile Association, it is estimated that 43 million people will travel during the Independence Day holiday period, the highest Fourth of July travel on record. The holiday period begins today (Thursday) and will continue through midnight on Monday, July 4th.
The Highway Patrol is advising motorists to be careful as they enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. Motorists who slow down and travel at posted speeds will not only increase their chances of arriving at their destination safely but will also conserve fuel.
Last year, the Highway Patrol investigated 12 fatal collisions and 288 injury collisions during the July 4th holiday period. This included 4 fatal collisions and 38 injury collisions due to impaired driving.
Speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in the state. Troopers will be cracking down on speeders during the holiday and will be using speed timing devices to assist them in enforcing the speed laws. There will be an increased presence of troopers on the interstates, major four lane highways and rural paved roads across North Carolina.
“With a predicted record breaking amount of travel expected over the upcoming 4th of July holiday, the Highway Patrol is asking everyone to drive cautiously and obey all the traffic laws,” said Bill Grey, Commander of the Highway Patrol. “The increased volume means increased risks which unfortunately can lead to traffic fatalities and injuries. Please drive safe and arrive alive.”
With many celebrations across the state, drivers should make sure they are designating a sober driver. The Patrol would also like to remind motorists to wear their seatbelts and use the correctly fitted child safety seats, as they are the best defense should you be involved in a crash.
In addition to focusing on impaired drivers, troopers will also target aggressive drivers who tend to cause the most crashes. The aggressive driver has been identified as those drivers who flagrantly violate the motor vehicle laws, including but not limited to: excessive speeding, following too closely, erratic lane changes, safe movement violations, texting while driving and other forms of reckless endangerment.
Citizens may report crashes, drunk drivers, stranded motorists or other highway situations to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) on their cellular phones. This is a toll free call that connects the caller with the nearest Highway Patrol communications center.