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Authorities To Crack Down On Drunken Drivers For Holiday Weekend

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Twenty-one people died on North Carolina roads during last year's July 4 weekend. Five of those deaths were alcohol-related. During this holiday weekend, law enforcement officers want to make the roads safe for everyone.

Officials say nearly 800 drunk drivers have been arrested during the Booze It and Lose It campaign this summer. Police set up more than 1,000 checkpoints across the state, nabbing the highest number of drunk drivers in Wake, Cumberland and Wayne counties.

Officers have a warning for drivers during this holiday weekend.

"The message is getting through to the citizens of North Carolina and the folks of Durham that if they are going to drink and drive, then stay off the road," said Sgt. Adam Clayton, of the Durham County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities have manned two checkpoints in Durham since the campaign began a week ago, including Thursday night. The Booze It and Lose It program started in 1993. Over the years, officers have learned to recognize when a driver is trying to pull a fast one.

"Whoever is the soberest will get behind the wheel quickly. We'll have spotters at each end of the checkpoint looking for that," said Keith Whitfield, a law enforcement liasion. "People who come through without a license or drive with their license revoked -- they will try to change drivers or jump and run. We see it at every checkpoint."

The state just got two new mobile breath-alcohol testing units or BATmobiles. They will be used at 15 checkpoints across the state this weekend.


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