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As travel picks up law enforcement in ENC urges drivers to be safe

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 7:20 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - The summer season is in full swing and after more than a year where millions spent most of their time at home, many are now planning for those long-awaited vacations and road trips. As more people hit the highways law enforcement agencies are urging drivers to be safe.

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the 100 deadliest days of the year because of increased travel.

For New Bern Police Officer Casey Garrison the increasing traffic means more back-up and delays. Officer Garrison says drivers need to be mindful of that and allow for more time to get to their destination.

“A lot of places are opening back up and there’s going to be a lot more travel because a lot of people didn’t travel last summer so that’s going to cause more traffic problems and backups if you’re going out of state,” explained Garrison.

Packed highways also mean drivers need to pay attention to their speed. NC Highway Patrol Troopers say speed is a complaint they are seeing a lot of this year. Speed is also attributed to more than 26% of traffic fatalities in 2019 alone.

Sgt. Marcus Bethea explained, “Speed has been a common complaint, a common theme we have heard about this year, of course, we’re coming off of a very unique year, this time a year ago we were in a pandemic and there was not as much traffic.”

During the busy summer months Sgt. Bethea says drivers need to be alert on the roadway and he says driving is not the time to be using your phone. “We ask that everyone drive defensively, stay alert, obey the speed limit, do not follow closely”, explained Sgt. Bethea.

Law Enforcement agencies around the state will also be participating in ‘Booze it and Lose it’ their annual campaign aimed at stopping drinking and driving.

Another campaign Highway Patrol is taking part in is, Operation SafeDRIVE, which has a goal of reminding drivers of the extra precautions they need to take when interacting with tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles.

“You know we’re driving smaller vehicles and these vehicles are maneuverable these vehicles have that agility, and we might get in front of a tractor-trailer thinking they can stop just as fast as we can and that’s often not the case and that can lead to disaster,” explained Sgt. Bethea.

Law enforcement says you can expect to see increased patrols for the July Fourth holiday starting in the coming days.

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