Donate to Hurricane Recovery

DHHS’ Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch part of Safety City at State Fair

Fritz LaBarge, DHHS’ Public Health Forensic Tests for Alcohol branch head, speaks at the entrance to “Safety City.”

Nov. 6, 2017 -- The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program showcased its annual “Safety City” with an event at the 2017 North Carolina State Fair featuring statewide highway safety partners, including the Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch of DHHS’ Division of Public Health.

The Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch provides training to law enforcement agencies to administer breath alcohol tests. Fritz LaBarge, FTA Branch Head, spoke to the crowd about the ways in which the branch works with the N.C. Highway Patrol and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program to help make roadways safer across the state.

During the last fiscal year, the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit Program participated in 313 driving while impaired checking stations that led to:

  • the arrest of 580 impaired drivers;
  • citations for 7,009 other traffic violations;
  • and 1,219 criminal charges.

“It is a pleasure to work alongside law enforcement officers, and with other statewide partners to help make our state’s roads as safe as possible,” LaBarge said.

Safety City is a highway safety “community” housed within the State Fair that seeks to educate visitors on highway safety issues to help decrease roadway injuries and fatalities.

The focus was on key traffic safety topics including: child passenger safety; teen driving safety; proper seat belt use; preventing driving while impaired; railroad safety protocol; motorcycle safety tips; and the dangers of speeding and distracted driving.

More than 100,000 fairgoers visited Safety City during this year’s state fair, which ran from Oct. 12-22.

The exhibit was sponsored by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and supported by traffic safety partners who shared information such as highway safety-related statistics and best practices. Additional partners included the Institute for Traffic Research and Education, Safe Kids N.C., Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Be Rail Safe N.C. and Operation Lifesaver.

Jocelyn Herrera and Scott Coleman