Local News

Troopers urge motorists to slow down

Posted December 23, 2009 10:10 p.m. EST
Updated December 24, 2009 5:31 a.m. EST

— The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to slow down to help ensure everyone has a safe holiday season.

During the holiday week last year, 20 people were killed and 668 people were injured in traffic collisions on state roads. The leading cause of those collisions was speed.

Highway Patrol Trooper S.P. Scherbekow said he ticketed a lot of speeders Wednesday while patrolling Interstate 440. He said drivers and passengers need to remember to wear seat belts, slow down and allow plenty of time to get to their destinations.

"We don't need anymore innocent people dying on the highways,” Scherbekow said.

Over the holidays, troopers will be conducting checkpoints and enforcing the state's driving while impaired laws. The patrol will be increasing the number of troopers on the interstates and heavily traveled corridors, cracking down on motorists who are driving recklessly or traveling at excessive speeds.

The 2009 holiday period begins Wednesday and ends at midnight on Friday, Jan. 1. 

AAA Carolinas predicts a nearly 5 percent decline in road travel this year due to high unemployment and a rise in gas prices, which is averaging 92 cents more per gallon than in 2008.

More than 3 million North Carolinians will travel more than 50 miles from home this year, about 150,000 less than last year, according to AAA Carolinas.

Scherbekow said sometimes fewer cars can lead to more trouble on the roadways.

"When there are less cars on the road, that gives people the opportunity to drive faster,” Scherbekow explained.

Scherbekow stressed that motorists shouldn't speed, even during slower traffic times.

During the holiday week, troopers will also be participating in the state's “Booze It and Lose It” anti-drunken driving campaign. Sobriety checkpoints are scheduled throughout the state during the week.

Motorists with cellular phones can report safety hazards to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) toll free.