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Gas prices, drunk driving concerns of Labor Day travelers

Posted August 29, 2008

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— High gas prices will keep some Americans home over Labor Day weekend, but millions more plan to hit the asphalt, and law enforcement agencies will step up patrols to protect them.

The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in North Carolina is down nearly 40 cents from Memorial Day, to about $3.60.

However, that price is up from $2.78 during the 2007 Labor Day weekend, and AAA officials predict that difference will keep some North Carolinians from traveling this weekend.

About 720,300 North Carolinians are expected to drive more than 100 miles round-trip, a 0.08 percent decrease from the 2007 number of Labor Day road travelers, AAA said.

To ease vacation travel times and keep driving conditions safe, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is suspending highway construction this weekend. The suspension will go from 4 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Tuesday.

An exception is the construction zone along Interstate 85 in Vance County, where lane closures will continue and delays are likely.

Law enforcement agents will join the crusade for highway safety, continuing the statewide Booze It and Lose It campaign against drunk driving.

"It'll be a big holiday weekend for us," Trooper Eric Hunt said.

Troopers, deputies and police officers will conduct extra sobriety checkpoints and patrols across the state throughout the weekend.

The Labor Day Booze It and Lose it campaign kicked off on Aug. 8, 2008 – the date itself a reminder of the state's legal blood-alcohol concentration limit of 0.08. Two checkpoints in Raleigh that Friday netted 162 charges, including 20 for driving while impaired.

The Highway Patrol's commander, Col. Walter Wilson Jr., has ordered troopers to enforce speed laws aggressively. Troopers also will be watching for aggressive drivers who follow too closely and make erratic lane changes.

Troopers said the ultimate goal of the campaign is to save lives.

"Definitely, on a holiday weekend, we see more fatalities and motor vehicle collisions," Hunt said.

The patrol said 1,189 crashes killed 19 people and injured 584 in North Carolina during the 2007 holiday weekend.


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  • -Enter Screen Name- Aug 29, 2008

    I have a solution for drunk-driving!

    First, require some sort of registration in a state-/nation-wide database. You could even have this tied to your license, for convenience-sake.

    Next, your cost of alcohol is directly affected by the number of DUI arrests you've had. If you have a DUI, your alcohol purchase cost goes up by a factor of 10.

    So, that $4 beer at the pub? If you've had 1 DUI, it's gonna cost you $40 now. After your second DUI (if you can afford it), that same beer will cost $400. And that $3 bottle of IPA at the store? $30 after 1 DUI, $300 after 2.

    And penalties levied for people caught buying alcohol for those with DUIs.

    Who cares where the extra money goes. Let the businesses keep it for all I care. DOT fund. Schools. Whatever.

    Two downsides, though:
    1. Additional expense on places selling alcohol (bars, grocery stores, etc.) to connect to the central database
    2. This is a reactive solution, and not proactive. Sorry, not much I can do there.

  • superman Aug 29, 2008

    Surprising but there is much more emphasis and debate of cigaretee smoking than on alcohol. Remember the persom who was going to get legislation passed to prevent 12 illegals from attending community college statewide in North Carolina? They going to pass a law that only affects 12 people statewide? What a waste of time. Thousands of illegals in our public schools, we accept out of state students and foreign students in our colleges every day. Well maybe our HP wont have time to enjoy time on the hood of their patrols cars.

  • bs101fly Aug 29, 2008

    when driving after drinking, always look as far ahead as possible. at the first blurry sign of flashing anything take the next street you come to, drive quickly into the neighborhood like you live there and park in someone's driveway. turn off lights and take a nap.
    tomorrow morning when you get up and have pee'd yourself from the close call you'll be reminded all day why you should've stayed home the night before!
    Gas prices? WHO CARES! we'll never pay less than $3/gallon AGAIN!

  • TheAdmiral Aug 29, 2008

    "I like the raise the price of beer idea."

    I agree. Just leave the hard liquors alone. They don't kill anyone.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 29, 2008

    First of all, if gas prices and drunk driving were concerns for the last 100 years, then Labor Day Roads would have been absolutely clean except for those drunkards.

    I think it is an attempt to blame something on someone.

    Additionally, the bleeding heart statement "...1,189 crashes killed 19 people and injured 584..." then go on and use false reasoning to make it look logical. Sickening. The fact of the matter is that people die in the United States from something. You are saying that 1,189 crashes killed 19 people and injured 584 and then say it is too much.

    1,189 crashes out of how many in the United States, a million? Killed 19 people out of 300,000?

    So the 12 Million Illegal Aliens here have committed over 1.2 Billion dollars in crime, kill 25 Americans a day, and take their identities and you are more worried about 19 people who died in one year?

    I think someones priorities are askew.

  • CrewMax Aug 29, 2008

    Yes, they should stop each car at the entrance of any neighborhood
    and search for alcohol. Strip search each occupant for illegal drugs and stress test each seat belt to make sure it meets manufacturer's specs. Oh, how about getting the grocery store records (kept when you use the savings cards) and look for
    excessive (as specified by legislators) alcohol purchases. Then you could target the vehicles registered to those addresses.
    That would make us all safer.

  • Rolling Along Aug 29, 2008

    Wow! .08% that means about 600 people are staying home...whoohoo let me at those road ways. FWIW I refuse to travel any distance on major holidays. Let the idiots rule the roads. They can't them off of it.

  • Hip-Shot Aug 29, 2008

    I noticed the oil companies are looking out just for us: in between Wednesday and Thursday gasoline went up an average of 15 cents per gallon locally(Rocky Mount area).

  • Sincerity Aug 29, 2008

    The ACLU protects drunk drivers?!

    I like the raise the price of beer idea.

  • discowhale Aug 29, 2008

    Maybe the answer is price controls. Gas prices should go down, sand beer should be $20 per gallon.

    But seriously, you can't legislate or dictate morality, nor smarts. Maybe mandatory, lifelong Antibuse for ANYONE ever caught on a DWI. I don't care about their "rights" either, to heck with the ACLU attitudes.

    When you endanger the rights of others by dangerous actions, you jeopardize your own rights. If by getting caught you lose your rights, tough.