Police prep for New Year's celebrations

RALEIGH Authorities say one person is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes in the U.S. - they are hoping partygoers remember that as they get ready to ring in the New Year with alcohol.

Police will be out in full force looking for drunk drivers.

"We know that tomorrow's going to be a big event," Sgt Jeff Gordon said. "We are going to be out in full force, the Booze It Loose It campaign is going to be going on. We'll have checkpoints set up periodically, not just on the main roads, but also some of the back roads, as well as we'll do saturation patrols and so forth."

Along with the Highway Patrol, Raleigh police and Wake County sheriff deputies will be out in force Thursday night.

Sgt. Gordon says more than 11,000 people were hurt last year, because of drunk drivers.

On New Year's Eve, there's plenty of drinking going on and authorities say that's fine, as long as you don't get behind the wheel.

"Plan ahead," Gordon said. "If you are going to go and out and drink, please get somebody to pick you up if you feel like you're going to be consuming alcohol."

So far this year, the Highway Patrol alone has arrested 25,080 people for driving while impaired.

More than 200 people were arrested for DWI by the patrol just on New Year's Eve last year.

The charges for driving drunk are severe, but the consequences could be worse.

"It could affect your life for the rest of your life by you possibly injuring yourself or possibly an innocent bystander," Gordon said.

If you see someone driving erratically, the Highway Patrol hopes you'll give them a call at *HP on your cell phone and let them know.

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