Americans love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks, yet this hugely popular American holiday is sadly one of the deadliest days of the year due to drunk-driving crashes. July 4th Traffic Safety
In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, yet unfortunately people continue to break the law and drive drunk.
According to data from NHTSA, during the July 4th holiday period over the last five years (from 2008 to 2012), 765 people lost their lives in crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. In fatal crashes during the July Fourth 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.
From 2009-2013, these fatalities accounted for 40% percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. Over the Fourth of July holiday period in 2013 alone (6 p.m. July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. July 8th), there were 199 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes on our nation’s roads.
The statistics are truly staggering. So much so, that in 2013, Forbes magazine named the Independence Day holiday “the most dangerous holiday of the year.”
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), summer in general is a particularly risky time on the road — with crash factors such as speeding and alcohol much more common. A yearly average of 2,781 deaths in June, July and August involved speeding, and 2,846 involved alcohol.
With this in mind, the NSC recommends the following safety tips for safe driving over the holiday: //www.nsc.org/pages/home.aspx:
- Think ahead if you plan to consumer alcohol. Designate a sober driver
- If you are impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or use mass transit
- Report drunk drivers you see on the road to law enforcement
- Don’t’ let friends drive drunk – take their keys and promptly make other travel arrangements for them.
In the meantime, revelers should know that law enforcement officer will be out in full force this Independence Day – and if you’re caught driving drunk, you will be arrested. Keep in mind that aside from putting your life and the lives of others at risk, driving under the influence can also lead to serious and lasting consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs about $10,000.
For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov