Highway safety program encourages sober driving ahead of July 4 weekend

The message #KeysFreeNC is written on a vehicle in window chalk in support of sober driving as part of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s “Operation Firecracker.” (N.C. Department of Transportation photo)

RALEIGH — This week, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and more than 500 law enforcement agencies kicked off the state’s annual Fourth of July anti-drunk driving campaign “Operation Firecracker” with increased enforcement patrols.

Operation Firecracker runs Monday through Sunday. This year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program is soliciting motorists to encourage everyone to support sober driving by adorning their vehicles with messages in window chalk that read #KeysFreeNC.

“We’ve seen drivers mark special occasions like birthdays and graduations by displaying messages in window chalk on their vehicles,” the Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Mark Ezzell said in a release. “This season when drunk driving is historically high due to summer traveling and the 4th of July holiday, we need everyone who can operate a vehicle to take part in this campaign to help stop impaired driving.”

On Monday, NCGHSP kicked off this year’s holiday enforcement campaign at the main entrance of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point with a community drive-thru event.

NCGHSP recruited area law enforcement agencies, military, state highway patrol, Breath Alcohol Testing mobile workers and firefighters to flank the entrance to the installation in a show of support for the cause.

“MCASCP is ground zero of this year’s campaign and Monday’s kick-off event will be the kindling we hope will catch fire everywhere,” said Mikel Huber, base commander for MCAS Cherry Point. “We want to see every motorist that’s committed to driving sober encouraging others to do the same.”

The NCGHSP will also use social media to encourage everyone to drive sober during the holiday week and release a video via YouTube that will include messaging from law enforcement, clergy, military and the governor’s office.

“We’re all in this together. If one person drives impaired it puts our economic, cultural, social and mortal vitality at risk,” Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said.

If you are drinking and choose to get behind the wheel, law enforcement will be on the lookout, officials said.

For those who have a social media platform, show NCGHSP how you are celebrating safely. Mention @NCGHSP on Facebook and tag @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram with #KeysFreeNC and #NCGHSP to show that you are celebrating safely. 

(1) comment


Here we go, more carnage due to alcohol and drugs. We must have our alcohol. We cannot go to church, but we can buy alcohol. Great fun indeed!

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