KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - June 29, 2016) - Every year Americans head out on our nation's highways to celebrate the Fourth of July at picnics, parties, parades and more. Unfortunately, for many, the celebrating includes drinking alcohol, which too often leads to drunk driving on one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year.
In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes nationwide-almost a third of all crash fatalities.
There were 397 people killed nationwide in motor vehicle crashes in 2014 over the Fourth of July holiday (6 p.m. July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. July 7th). Of those fatalities, 164 people (41%) were killed in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. And from 2010-2014, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
This Fourth of July, area law enforcement will be out in full force, cracking down on drunk drivers by aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger.
"Don't even think about drinking and driving this Fourth of July, or you will be arrested," said Susan DeCourcy, Regional Administrator NHTSA Region 7. "The 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving -- no excuses."
Young Drivers, Motorcycle Operators Especially at Risk
NHTSA data shows that young drivers (18 to 34 years old) are especially at risk of driving drunk. In fact, 58 percent of the drivers 18 to 34 years old who were killed over the July Fourth period in 2014 were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher). Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2014, more than a quarter (29%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.
Drunk drivers are also more common at night. Over the July Fourth holiday in 2014, more than two-fifths (42%) of the drivers in nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired, compared to 12 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.
If you're caught driving drunk this Independence Day, you will be arrested. Not only could you put your life and the lives of others at risk, but a DUI arrest means a loss of freedom and money, including going to jail, losing your license, and paying steep financial expenses. The average DUI cost? About $10,000.
Remember these safe alternatives to drinking and driving.
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
- Designate a sober driver or use public transportation to get home safely.
- Download NHTSA's SaferRide mobile app at www.nhtsa.gov/link/saferride/.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact local law enforcement.
- If you know people who are about to drive or ride after drinking, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.
Make a Declaration of Independence. Don't Drink and Drive. #Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Going to a bar or a party this 4th of July? Plan your sober ride home before you go. #Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.