The North Carolina State Highway Patrol and law enforcement organizations that participated in the More Cops, More Stops “I-40 Challenge” during the Thanksgiving travel period, have released the results from the eight-state high-visibility safety campaign.
The “I-40 Challenge” took place on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Dec. 1, which are two of the busiest travel days of the year. In support of the More Cops, More Stops campaign, there was a significant increase in troopers assigned to I-40, ticketing or arresting offenders caught speeding, driving while impaired, failing to wear seatbelts and other traffic violations. Law enforcement agencies from the eight states, which included North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, teamed up for the initiative to push for a zero fatality rate along the 2,555 miles of I-40 over the Thanksgiving travel period.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol has announced that there were no fatalities that occurred on I-40 during the two-day challenge campaign. The “I-40 Challenge” targeted a busy Thanksgiving travel period, when the rate of fatal and injury crashes on Interstate 40 is particularly high.
“Data shows us that during the Thanksgiving holiday period, most motorists travel on the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The surge of traffic increases your chances of being involved in a collision.
To reduce those chances, we decided to partner with law enforcement agencies from across the country in the hopes of reducing the number of I-40 traffic tragedies,” said First Sergeant Jeff Gordon, spokesman for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
The two-day special enforcement period (12 p.m.-12 a.m., Wednesday, Nov., 27, and 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sunday, Dec.1) resulted in the following:
Too many people lose their lives in traffic crashes that could be prevented by simply obeying the law. In fact, more than 22,000 people across the nation were killed in traffic crashes in 2011. Of those fatalities, 52 percent were not wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes. Approximately 9,900 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes, more than 3,330 were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and nearly 10,000 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.
Law enforcement officials report that nighttime is especially deadly because it is the time when more people fail to do the single most effective thing to save their life in a crash — wear a seat belt. In the United States in 2011, 62 percent of people who were killed in nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) traffic crashes were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. By comparison, in the same year 43 percent of people who were killed in daytime crashes were unbelted.
“Unfortunately, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can bring out the worst behavior in drivers. It’s a real tragedy when a family’s Thanksgiving travel ends in a preventable disaster,” said Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. “That’s why we were out there on I-40 — to show the public that there are serious consequences for violating traffic safety laws. Those laws are in place to save lives.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, International Association of the Chiefs of Police, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Governors Highway Safety Association partnered with North Carolina State Highway Patrol to implement this high-visibility combined highway safety law enforcement campaign, More Cops, More Stops, which focuses enforcement on multiple traffic safety laws at one time.
For more information on the More Cops, More Stops campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.