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RALEIGH – As the July 4 Holiday weekend approaches, the State Highway Patrol is encouraging motorists to focus on safety while traveling.  Several festivities are planned across the state to celebrate our nation’s independence which will lead to an increased number of vehicles on the state’s roadways.

Along with increased travel, SHP is placing a special emphasis on impaired driving by participating in the Governor’s Highway Safety Campaign’s 2017 Operation Firecracker.  The campaign is a joint effort among state and local law enforcement to remove impaired motorists from the roadway.  Troopers will conduct checkpoints and saturation patrols in each county, attempting to combat the number of collisions that occur from impaired driving.

Last year, SHP investigated 111 collisions during the July 4 Holiday period where alcohol was a contributing factor.  Among those collisions, 76 resulted in an injury and 4 fatalities were reported.

“As we celebrate our nation’s independence, we must remember to do so safely”, said Colonel Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “Losing just one life from a needless collision involving an impaired driver is simply inexcusable.”

Citizens are encouraged to designate a sober driver or use another form of transportation such as a cab, bus or private transportation service.  Motorists can contribute to highway safety by reporting impaired and erratic drivers by simply dialing *HP or (*47) on a cellular phone. Callers should give the description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license plate number if at all possible.