As North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is reminding motorist to be safe this holiday season, local law enforcement officers are urging caution and smart decision making as locals travel throughout the New Year’s holiday period.
According to N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Davis, officers across the state, including Sampson County, will beef up patrol beginning Thursday and through the holiday weekend. Weather permitting, Davis said local officers would be conducting check-point stations on many of Sampson County’s roadways.
“As more motorists are hitting the roads this weekend, we encourage drivers to follow all traffic laws, considering the weather, and make adjustments to driving as needed,” Davis said.
The governor issued a statement Wednesday morning, urging safe driving through New Year’s weekend.
“A little planning and common sense will ensure the New Year’s holiday will be a time of celebration and optimism instead of a time of tragedy and mourning,” McCrory said. “The Highway Patrol will be out in force to apprehend impaired drivers and enforce traffic laws in order to keep the New Year’s holiday period as safe as possible.”
According to the governor’s statement, last year, troopers investigated five fatal collisions and 139 injury-related collisions during the New Year’s holiday period. This year’s holiday period will begin today and end on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Davis said one person fell victim to a fatality in Sampson County during the New Year’s holiday in 2015. According to newspaper reports, an 83-year-old Duplin County man became Sampson’s first fatality of 2015 following a one-vehicle collision on N.C. 41 east New Year’s Day.
According to information released by the N.C. Highway Patrol, Johnny Williams Jr., of 556 Cornwallis Road, Teachey, was traveling east on N.C. 41 when he ran off the road to the right in a curve and struck a ditch culvert.
To combat impaired driving, Davis said troopers will be conducting DWI checkpoints and enforcing all state laws. Throughout Sampson County, Davis added that the Patrol will be increasing the number of troopers on the roadways and heavily traveled areas.
The Highway Patrol will also be participating in the state’s “Booze It and Lose It” anti-drunk driving campaign.
“It’s important for all travelers to have a plan,” Davis said. “If you know you are going to be drinking, make sure you have a designated driver. Please don’t get on the roads driving if you have been drinking.”
The Highway Patrol is soliciting the public’s help by reporting impaired drivers. Motorists can simply dial *HP or *47 on a cellular phone should they observe an impaired driver.
According to the governor’s statement, he and the Highway Patrol are asking for motorists to help with ensuring safe travel by following these simple suggestions:
• Be responsible.
• Plan ahead.
• Designate a sober driver.
• Call a cab, friend or family member if you have consumed too much of an alcoholic beverage. Do not drive.
• Spend the night where you are, if possible.
“You must obey the speed laws,” Davis shared. “Don’t be texting and driving, make sure you wear your seatbelt and always have a plan. Don’t drink and drive.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.