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Troopers see increase in impaired driving in North Carolina

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Alcohol is being blamed for a crash that killed an Asheboro man early Thursday morning.

It happened on I-85 in Orange County

State Troopers say 62-year-old Kim Morgan ran off the road before hitting a guard rail, a bridge and landing down an embankment.

Investigators say Morgan's death could have been prevented.

The tragic end to the crash is an issue state troopers say they're seeing a lot more of.

"Alcohol was located in the vehicle," said Master Trooper Brandon Baker, with North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Baker was talking to a driver's education class Thursday and said lessons like this are the ones he hates to have to teach.

"Most folks think they have to get to the legal limit of 0.08 before they're a hazard to themselves or others. But it's that first drink where they're an impaired driver," he said. "This is a completely preventable situation. Anything dealing with an impairing substance. But it's tragic nonetheless and that's why we take it so seriously."

But in North Carolina, it seems drivers still aren't getting the message.

"In 2017 there was an increase to 2018. Last year in North Carolina, there were 449 fatalities that involved impaired driving. That includes drugs as well, not just alcohol alone," Baker said.

Poor decision making, he believes, is killing North Carolinians.

"It makes up about 30 percent of all of our total fatalities. There's a little more than 1,400 people who lost their lives last year in North Carolina," he said. "Nearly 450 were due to impaired driving."

He's hoping people take Morgan's as a tragic example and learn from it.

"There's a life that's irreplaceable, that's lost and there's a family that's been shattered in an instant," he said. "There's nothing we can do to bring this gentleman's life back. Nothing at all. That's what makes it so tragic."

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