WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Fourth of July is known to be one of the worst weekends on the road for drinking and driving. This year proved no different.
On a typical weekend, Highway Patrol in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties arrests about 20 people for DWI. This holiday weekend, that number doubled. Troopers say they took about 40 drunk drivers off the road in New Hanover and Brunswick. Last year, Highway Patrol set up a special operation and caught about 80 people driving while impaired.
"Every impaired driver that we arrest is a potential murderer that we're keeping off the street, because it is a serious problem," said Lt. Todd Radabaugh with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
The Wildlife Resources Commission got 11 impaired boaters off the water, which is about the same as last year. Radabaugh says nearly all of them were coming back from Masonboro Island, which is known as the place to party on the 4th. Radabaugh says operating a boat while impaired is just dangerous as driving a car drunk.
"Boats don't have brakes. There's no travel lanes. There's no stop lights, so you have to have control of all of your faculties to operate a boat," he said.
Barb Lynch with Justice in Motion, a non profit organization that supports law enforcement, says last week's campaign efforts helped people get the message.
"I do believe the campaigns, the 'Booze It and Lose It' campaigns, the 'Click It or Ticket' campaigns are helpful," Lynch said. "They're getting the word out to people. Unfortunately, not everyone is listening."
Highway Patrol says it's planning on setting up another three-day special operation in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties at the end of the month.