Law enforcement steps up patrols

Drivers can expect to see a strong law enforcement presence on Catawba County roadways from now through Halloween on Monday.

Officers begins the annual "Booze It & Lose It" Halloween campaign Friday night in an effort to remove impaired drivers from the road.

In 2010, North Carolina tallied more than 139 alcohol-related crashes during the Halloween campaign — including four fatalities and 123 injuries. More than 2,300 officers also charged more than 700 North Carolina drivers with driving while impaired.

The N.C. Department of Transportation also issued a statement Friday urging drivers to travel safely as daylight saving time ends next weekend. The switch to standard time happens at 2 a.m. Nov. 6, leaving less evening light for commuters.

The state reminds drivers to be mindful of pedestrians and cyclists near roads.

"Motorists need to remember to use their headlights as dusk arrives and be on the lookout for bicyclists, pedestrians and deer," said Cliff Braam, traffic safety specialist with the transportation department. "Bicycles and pedestrians should also make themselves as visible as possible by wearing bright or light-colored clothing and using lights and/or reflective vests as appropriate."

According to the transportation department, 875 pedestrians and 187 bicyclists statewide were involved in vehicle crashes during dusk and nighttime last year. The department reports 16,488 crashes involving animals.

The state recommends the following tips for safe travel:
* Make sure all vehicle lights work properly.
* Use the night setting on the rear-view mirror to avoid glare.
* Supervise small children as they enter and exit vehicles along the street.
* Keep your eyes moving side to side.
* Wear bright clothing and reflective gear if you're walking or cycling near roadways.
* Use crosswalks.
* Walk on sidewalks, and face oncoming traffic.