Bryan, Ohio – 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.
There were 397 people killed 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.
In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes nationwide—almost a third of all crash fatalities. And from 2010-2014, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
In every state and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. Yet, among the 164 people killed in drunk-driving crashes over the 2014 July Fourth period, 113 people died in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .15 or higher—almost twice the set limit.
This Fourth of July, Williams County 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 Steve Towns, Williams County Sheriff. “The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving—no excuses.”
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. The consequences of drunk driving are that serious. 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.
“This Fourth of July, don’t risk losing your life or your independence by drinking and driving. Help make everyone’s holiday in Williams County safer by driving sober, said Sheriff Towns. “Remember, there’s no excuse—Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
Williams County Safe Communities recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
•Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
•Designate a sober driver.
•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 the Williams County Sheriff’s Department or the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
•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