WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published July 02, 2010, 05:33 PM

Highway Patrol out in Full force

It's a busy weekend for everyone including the Highway Patrol. They'll be out in full force this holiday weekend.

It's a busy weekend for everyone including the Highway Patrol.

They'll be out in full force this weekend because of the potential of a large number of drunk drivers and to make sure everyone makes it to and from their destinations safely.

You've seen their billboards asking if you're going out tonight, because they are too.

With more force than usual.

Captain Kyle Terness of the Highway Patrol says "In addition to our normally scheduled troopers, we're going to have several other officers in the lake region here coming out for extra hours, working overtime, late into the night focusing on DUI enforcement and then of course, seat belt enforcement.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol is warning drivers.

"Give Driving your full attention. Often times we see drivers that are multi-tasking. They might be on a cell phone, eating a hamburger, distracted with young kids, we've even seen drivers reading materials, books, and such while driving. Give driving your full attention."

With so much construction going on around the lake region accidents are becoming more common.

"Not only speeding, but following to close, which is the most common cause of collisions in construction zones. so we urge people to increase their following distance and we also urge people to pay close attention to signage in construction zones."

The number of fatalities in North Dakota are never low enough.

"Alcohol involved fatalitites, 41%. Statewide fatality victims that are not wearing seat belts, 62% in ND. Right here in the Northeast region to localize it, we've had 60% of our fatalities alcohol involved so again, we need people to make sure they have a responsible party behind the wheel. Absolutely, positively, no drinking and driving."

Last year there were no fatalities in ND over the 4th of July weekend and the higway patrol would like to make that two years running.

But that will only happen if drivers choose to be safe.

"Buckle up. Not only wear you own seat belt, but make sure that everybody thats in your vehicle is buckled up so if that in an unlikely even that you're in a crash, ya know what, give yourself a chance to survive that crash."

Terness says its important to be aware of the traffic around you while driving. The minimum fine if you are picked up in a construction zone is $80.