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This 4th of July, let's celebrate America's independence... ...responsibly

This 4th of July, let's celebrate America's independence... ...responsibly

Americans love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food, and --yes-- fireworks. But all too often, our festivities turn tragic on our nation's roads. The fact is, this iconic American holiday is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk-driving crashes.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the July 4th holiday period over the last five years (from 2008 to 2012), 765 people lost their lives in crashes involving drunk drivers. During the holiday period, these deaths consistently account for a full 40 percent of all traffic fatalities. And drunk drivers aren't just a threat to themselves; more than a third of the people killed when alcohol-impaired drivers crash are not the impaired drivers.

But drunk driving isn't something we have to live with; it's entirely preventable. So let's celebrate our independence this year by breaking free of this tragic consistency and driving sober.

Infographic showing that 44 percent of all traffic deaths during the 4th of July period in 2012 involved a drunk driver

And if partygoers choose to drive impaired, law enforcement officers will once again be on the road this weekend as part of a nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown. These men and women are devoting their holiday weekend to our safety, and they will use a zero-tolerance approach to pulling impaired drivers off the road.

Because they know what NHTSA knows --buzzed driving is drunk driving.

So, for your own sake, the sake of your passengers, and the sake of everyone on the road, play it safe this year:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
  • If you’re even slightly impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you can get home safely;
  • Use your community’s sober ride program;
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement; and
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to safely get where they're going.

From all of us at DOT, have a great holiday weekend. We hope to see you safely back here next week!

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