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The N.C. Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to be careful as they enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. The holiday officially kicks off the summer vacation season in North Carolina. This means more people will be on our highways, increasing the chance of traffic crashes.

Troopers will increase patrols on all interstates and major four lane highways during the holiday weekend. Speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in the state.

“Memorial Day is the beginning of a busy travel season across the state,” said Colonel Michael Gilchrist, State Highway Patrol Commander. “We are asking all motorists to buckle up and be extremely careful when traveling to their various destinations. I have instructed our Troopers to aggressively crack down on motorists who are speeding, driving recklessly and more importantly, drinking and driving”, said Gilchrist.

The Highway Patrol will also join other law enforcement agencies at “Click-It or Ticket” seatbelt checkpoints across the state throughout the week, and 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.

The Memorial Day holiday, which is set aside to honor deceased men and women from the Armed Forces, is expected to be a busy one on North Carolina highways. The holiday weekend officially begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27, and ends at midnight, Monday, May 30. Last year 11 motorists died and 358 were injured in traffic collisions investigated by the Highway Patrol over the Memorial Day holiday.

Citizens may report crashes, impaired 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 to the nearest Highway Patrol communications center.

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