NC authorities launch effort to keep drunk drivers off the roads and waterways

ate law enforcement agencies are launching a joint effort today to keep families safe across the state on the road and on the water this Memorial Day weekend.

The unofficial start to the summer season begins this weekend and authorities will be watching the roads and waterways.

The “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign will have the North Carolina State Highway Patrol ramping up their presence on the roads and the water.

The Wildlife Resource Commission will be patrolling on boats to find those who are boating while intoxicated. These efforts stem from the death of 17-year-old Sheyenne Marshall who died after being hit by a drunken boater while she was knee-boarding on July 4, 2015.

Authorities said 54 people died in the summer of 2016 because of intoxicated drivers and they want to see the number down to zero.

“Fifty-four families forever devastated because somebody chose to make the decision to drive impaired,” said the N.C. Highway Patrol’s Sgt. Michael Baker. “Not only does it affect the impaired motorist’s family, but it also affects those who are innocent.”

Last year there were 275 incidents related to intoxicated drivers in the summer, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Since Sheyenne’s death, a new law has been passed in her honor that brings harsher penalties for those who operate boats while intoxicated.

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