Placerville, CA – The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays, and why not? Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, picnics and fireworks.
And yet there is a very dark side to this great holiday. For many, the celebration includes alcohol, but the holiday quickly goes from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking. From 2009-2013, nearly 40 percent of ALL traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. Of the five major holiday periods of the year in California, the Fourth of July ranks as having the highest daily fatality rate.
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, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In California, 28 individuals were killed in Alcohol Involved crashes. To crack down on drunk driving this Fourth of July, the Avoid the 6 DUI task force will be out in full force, aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger.
NHTSA data shows that 10,076 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States in 2013— representing almost a third of all crash fatalities. By comparison, during the July Fourth period that year, 39 percent of all crash fatalities involved alcohol-impaired drivers.
The rate of high-BAC impaired driving is astounding. 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.
NHTSA data also reveals that 35 percent of young drivers (18 to 34 years old) were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher) in fatal crashes over the July Fourth period in 2013. Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2013, more than one-quarter (27%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.
Drunk drivers are more common at night, too. Over the July 4th holiday in 2013, more than two fifths (42%) of the drivers in nighttime fatal crashes (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were alcohol-impaired, as compared to 13 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.
If you’re caught driving drunk or drug impaired, you will be arrested. Aside from putting your life and the lives of others at risk, driving impaired can also lead to serious consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs about $10,000.
Law enforcement region-wide is asking for everyone’s support this holiday weekend and all summer long:
Funding for the Avoid the 6 DUI Campaign is by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Avoid DUI Task Force will deploy checkpoints and DUI patrols next during the 18 day August/Labor Day DUI Mobilization.