Everyone loves the Fourth of July. Friends and family gather together to eat hot dogs, hamburgers, and watch fireworks. Unfortunately, all too often the festivities and celebrations turn tragic when someone drinks too much and decides to drive. In fact, the Fourth of July has become one of the deadliest holidays of the year in the United States.
With this in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a governmental organization which is part of the Executive Branch of the United States government, has been tasked with saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing vehicle-related crashes.
How bad is the Fourth of July problem?
The Fourth of July is one of the nations deadliest weekends. In 2014 alone there were more than 164 people killed over the weekend by drivers whose blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit of 0.08%. These deaths, which could have been prevented, made up close to fifty percent of the deaths which occurred over that same period of time.
This year the NHTSA has implemented two new programs directed at both increased law enforcement activities (Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over) and social norming (Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving). Both of these programs will work in conjunction to help drivers understand the issues surrounding drunk driving as well as increasing arrests for those who do not.
Cities across the nation step up enforcement for DUI
Cities across the nation have announced that they will increase police patrolling over the Fourth of July Weekend. Police officers note that the goal of increased enforcement over the weekend is not to eliminate all fun, but rather to encourage drivers to drink responsibly. Officers ask all drivers to simply have a plan, which might include having a designated driver or simply calling a friend, taxi or Uber if they need help.
Many cities have also set up several different transportation options for drivers over the holiday weekend. For example, in the Bay Area there are taxi cabs, Uber, and the Tow to Go program. If drivers call 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246 they can have a tow truck pick them up and get their car safely back to their house free of charge.
What if you dont find a safe ride home?
Drivers who decide not to take advantage of some of the safe driving options, however, will find that cities have increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints. In fact, many cities will increase efforts with monies provided by the Department of Transportation.
Boaters should also be on alert. Police officers will also be patrolling the lakes and rivers to ensure that boaters are not operating their vehicles while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Officers note that although most drivers are aware of the dangers of driving under the influence, boating under the influence can be just as dangerous.
Staying safe over the Fourth of July weekend is easier now than ever. Plan a safe way home BEFORE the party starts. Designate a driver and make sure you know the programs available in your city to get home safely.