LUMBERTON — Those who plan on mixing driving with alcohol as part of a New Year’s resolution be warned: The Highway Patrol will be out in force watching for you.
Local law enforcement will be stepping up patrols and setting up checkpoints to help ensure that everyone has a safe holiday celebration, according to patrol Sgt. Daniel Hilburn.
“We’re asking everyone that plans to go out and enjoy the New Year to have a designated driver if you’ve been drinking,” Hilburn said. “Don’t drink and drive and please wear your seat belt.”
Hilburn said the Highway Patrol will be conducting saturation patrols and will set up random checkpoints throughout the county. Patrolmen will partner with local police departments and the sheriff’s office to stop drunken driving.
Lumberton Police Chief Mike McNeill said the city will also be increasing its patrols.
“We’ll have heavy personnel out,” McNeill said. “We’ll patrol like we usually do, but we’ll have more officers out.”
McNeill said that Lumberton police won’t be setting up any checkpoints on New Year’s Eve, but officers will be keeping an eye out for drunken drivers.
“We’re just hoping everyone will have a safe one,” McNeill said. “Don’t drink and drive, have a designated driver.”
According to state law, anyone who has a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more is considered impaired, Anyone who is charged with a DWI will lose their license for 30 days, according to Lumberton police’s Maj. Tommy Barnes, and face a fine of up to $2,000 and no less than 24 hours of imprisonment.
If someone refuses to take the breath test, that person faces a one-year suspension of their license, Barnes said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person is killed by a drunken driver every 51 minutes in the United States.