Local News

State troopers crack down on speeders, impaired drivers

Posted September 5, 2011 1:42 p.m. EDT
Updated September 6, 2011 5:45 a.m. EDT

State Trooper K.W. Cole issues a citation during the "Operation Booze It and Lose It" crackdown on impaired driving and speeding on Labor Day 2011.

— Thousands of suspected drunk drivers and speeders were caught in a nearly three-week crackdown by North Carolina enforcement that ended Labor Day.

By noon Monday, stepped-up patrols and checkpoints during "Operation Booze It and Lose It" had resulted in approximately 950 charges for driving while impaired and more than 9,000 citations for speeding.

"There's heavy traffic now, people going back home from the holiday weekend," said First Sgt. K.W. Cooke, with the state Highway Patrol.

Cole was among 15 troopers who patrolled two miles of Interstate 40 near Aviation Parkway Monday morning. In less than three hours, they charged about 70 drivers with going 80 mph or more.

"Most of them, at this point, have been extremely cooperative," Cooke said. "They agree, 'Yes, I was speeding.' Haven't had any people that vehemently deny it."

Troopers cited one driver for going 97 mph in the 65-mph zone.

"Eighty (mph) and above in North Carolina is a mandatory court appearance, because you can lose your license," Cooke said.

That court appearance also incurs at least $188 in court costs, as well as a fine.

But state troopers are more concerned about the human cost of impaired driving and speeding.

During last year's "Booze It and Lose It" campaign around Labor Day, there were 500 alcohol-related crashes across North Carolina. Those wrecks killed 20 people and injured 395.

"Slow down. Take your time," Cooke urged. "You've got the full holiday to just relax and get back to where you want to be.

"Don't tailgate, and definitely no drinking and driving," he added.