What’s better than celebrating our independence with family, friends, and fireworks? A Fourth of July without drunk drivers on the road. Unfortunately, the truth is that the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of year as the result of DUI related accidents. You can bet your lucky stars (and stripes) that Southern California cops will be out in full force looking for those who have celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks and one too many beers.
According to trafficsafetymarketing.gov, the Fourth of July yields some startling statistics. In 2011, the Fourth of July period, which ran from 6:00 p.m. on July 1st to 5:59 a.m. on July 5th, turned out 428 fatalities. Of those 428 fatalities, 161 involved a drunk driver. In other words, 38% of accidents that occurred in the Fourth of July period in 2011, involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08 or above.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), 780 people have died during the Fourth of July period from 2007 to 2011 as the result of drunk driving.
Southern California law enforcement officials will be out trying to reduce these statistics. DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols will be scheduled throughout the weekend in Los Angeles, Orange, and other Southern California counties.
Here are some tips to make sure that your freedom isn’t taken away on a day when we’re supposed to be celebrating it:
- Find a designated driver before heading out to firework show. And be sure that your designated driver remains sober.
- If you can’t find a designated driver, find alternative means to get home. If cabs are too hard to find, you can use smartphone apps like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. Although the city of Los Angeles has sent them cease-and-desist letters, I believe they are still operating. See my last post.
- You can always stay the night at where ever the festivities took place, provided you have permission to do so.
- The best way to prevent a DUI is to not drink at all.
- If you’re hosting a party, don’t serve alcohol to those who have been appointed as a designated driver. And don’t let guests drive home when they’ve had too much to drink.
- Lastly, if you’ve been drinking, use caution or altogether avoid lighting fireworks yourself. Alcohol slows reaction time and it is not out of the realm of possibility that a drunk partier holds onto a firework just a half of a second too long.
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