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We have already seen several serious accidents in the Piedmont this week and with far too many fatalities. Now we are on the eve of what is traditionally one of the most dangerous weekends of the year to be on the road.

In an effort to cut down on accidents and promote safe driving over the Independence Day weekend, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol will be participating in the nationwide Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).

In advance of the holiday weekend, the NC State Highway Patrol posted the following press release.

Highway Patrol Encouraging Motorists to Slow Down During the July 4th Holiday

The N.C. Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to be careful as they enjoy the July 4th holiday. Motorists who slow down and travel at posted speeds will not only increase their chances of arriving at their destination safely they will also conserve fuel.

There will be an increased presence of Troopers on the interstates and major four lane highways.

Speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in the state. State Troopers will be cracking down on speeders during the holiday and will be using LIDAR and other speed timing devices to assist them in enforcing the speed laws.

Additionally Troopers will increase patrols on all interstates and major four lane highways during the holiday. Last year in North Carolina, eight people died and 634 were injured over the July 4th holiday period. The 2009 July 4th holiday begins at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, July 2nd and ends at midnight, Sunday, July 5th.

Troopers will target aggressive drivers who tend to cause the most crashes. The aggressive driver has been identified as those drivers who flagrantly violate the motor vehicle laws, including but not limited to: excessive speeding, following too closely, erratic lane changes, safe movement violations, and other forms of reckless endangerment.

“I have instructed our troopers to crackdown on traffic violators on our interstates and to apply strict enforcement to those motorists who are traveling at dangerous speeds or in a careless manner,” said Colonel Walter J. Wilson Jr., Highway Patrol Commander. “Our Troopers will be looking for aggressive drivers, drunk drivers, and other violators while patrolling throughout the state during the holiday week.”

Reuben Young, Secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, said, “We are committed to doing our part to reduce traffic collisions throughout our state. Motorists should do their part by obeying all traffic laws while traveling to their holiday destination.”

Troopers will be participating in the nationwide “Operation C.A.R.E.” (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). “Operation C.A.R.E.” is a coordinated education and enforcement effort involving all Highway Patrol and State Police agencies across the nation. These high visibility patrols during national holiday periods are designed to prevent crashes and ensure voluntary compliance with the motor vehicle laws.

Troopers will also increase their efforts to enforce the state’s litter laws. Troopers will crackdown on litter bugs and keep litter off of North Carolina’s roads. Tougher littering laws passed by the N.C. General Assembly first-time offenders can be fined as much as $1,000 and be ordered to perform up to 24 hours of community service. Repeat offenders can get a $2,000 fine and 50 hours community service. The Department of Transportation’s Office of Beautification maintains the website where litterbug reports can be submitted. The address is . The page can also be found by going to the SHP website at .

Citizens may report crashes, drunk drivers, stranded motorists or other highway situations to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) on their cellular telephones. This is a toll free call that connects the caller with the nearest Highway Patrol communications center.

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