Lumberton, N.C. — The state’s Labor Day “Booze it & Lose It” campaign kicked off this week, aimed at reducing road fatalities and stopping alcohol-related crashes. The same program over the July 4, 2018, holiday put 875 check points on N.C. roads and yielded more than 1,300 DWI arrests and more than 55,000 total traffic and criminal violations on a variety of charges.
Organized by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP), the statewide campaign runs through Monday, Sept 3. On the first day of the safe-driving initiative last week, clergy from across Robeson County gathered to pray for the people on the roads.
“Robeson County has the highest number of crashes per capita in North Carolina, and we can’t wait another day to do something about it,” said North Carolina Board of Transportation member Grady Hunt, who leads the newly formed Robeson County Vision Zero Task Force. “We hope that clergy in and around this community will help us spur conversation about this crisis on our roadways.”
Vision Zero Task Force is a Robeson County campaign working with GHSP to address the county’s high rate of road fatalities by including law enforcement, road design and educational outreach in their work.
“People are dying mostly because of drunk driving, speeding and not wearing seat belts,” said GHSP director Mark Ezzell. “Engaging the faith-based community from across the county is critical to re-enforcing that saving lives on our roadways is not a partisan issue, it’s a cultural issue. We need every person who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle to understand that driving safely could mean saving their own lives and the lives of those around them.”
“This isn’t about politics or even preaching, this is about lives and saving them, and we plan to talk about this at our annual meeting to help spread this sense of urgency,” said Pastor Mike Cummings, retired director of the Burnt Swap Baptist Association, a family of churches affiliated with the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.
The GHSP is asking the public to be mindful during this Labor Day holiday to travel as safely as possible by designating a sober driver, calling a cab or finding public transit options.