SOURCE: NHTSA

NHTSA

June 30, 2015 09:17 ET

This 4th of July, 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over'

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Jun 30, 2015) - The 4th of July is one of America's favorite holidays. And why not? Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, picnics and fireworks.

And yet there can be a dark side to this great holiday. Too often, festive celebrations turn tragic when people choose to drink and drive. From 2009-2013, nearly 40 percent of ALL traffic fatalities during the 4th of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In 2013, Forbes magazine named the Independence Day holiday "the most dangerous holiday of the year."

To crack down on drunk driving this 4th of July, area law enforcement will be out in full force, aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger.

Fatality rates higher over 4th of July
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 10,076 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States in all of 2013 -- representing almost a third of all crash fatalities. During the July 4th period that year the rate jumped to 39 percent, with 199 people losing their lives in alcohol-impaired crashes over the 4th of July Holiday weekend.

In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, yet people continue to break the law and drive drunk. And the rate of high-BAC impaired driving is astounding. In fatal crashes during the July 4th period in 2013, more than one-fifth (21%) of involved drivers or motorcycle operators had BACs of .15 or higher -- almost twice the legal limit.

"Law enforcement throughout the area will be out in force to make our roads safer this 4th of July," said Susan DeCourcy, Regional Administrator, NHTSA Region 7. "For everyone's sake, don't drink and drive or you will be arrested. The 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving -- no excuses."

Young drivers, motorcyclists overrepresented
NHTSA data also reveals that 35 percent of young drivers (18 to 34 years old) were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher) in fatal crashes over the July 4th period in 2013. Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2013, more than one-quarter (27%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.

Drunk drivers are more common at night, too. Over the July 4th holiday in 2013, more than two fifths (42%) of the drivers in nighttime fatal crashes (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were alcohol-impaired, as compared to 13 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.

If you're caught driving drunk, you will be arrested. And keep in mind that aside from putting your life and the lives of others at risk, driving impaired can also lead to serious consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs about $10,000.
Implement these simple tips to prevent drunk driving.

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact law enforcement.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take your friend's keys and help your friend make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely.

Sample tweets:

If your friend has a drink in one hand and keys in the other, take the keys. You can be the difference between life and death.

#Drunkdriving can do more than destroy your life: it can end it. Find a sober #designateddriver before you drink.

For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.

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