Every day, law enforcement officers work endless hours to keep community members are safe. The decisions drivers make before getting behind the wheel of a car affect law enforcement officers’ work, and drunk driving can be one of the deadliest factors. In 2015, 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving-related crashes. To put it into perspective, that’s one person killed every 51 minutes. It’s the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors. This Fourth of July, as friends and family travel to picnics and barbecues across the country, Clinton Police will be out in full force, stopping drunk drivers by aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger. As you prepare to drive home from the festivities, keep in mind that even one drink can be one too many. This Fourth of July and every day, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
For as many good memories as the Fourth of July holiday can provide, it can also create devastating nightmares for families who lose a loved one due to drunk driving. During the 2015 Fourth of July holiday period (6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6), 92 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, and 146 people died in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08. In fact, from 2011-2015, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
“If you choose to head out to a Fourth of July party and make the terrible decision to drink and drive, don’t make be mistaken—if you get caught, you will be arrested,” said Police Chief Ford Hayman. “This is deadly, irresponsible behavior, and we will be out in full force to put a stop to it wherever we can. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving. There are plenty of safe ways for you to get home after a night of drinking alcohol. We will accept no excuses.”
In every state and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Still think drinking and driving isn’t really a big deal? The consequences could be everlasting. First and foremost, you could kill yourself or someone else. If you kill someone else, you could be charged with manslaughter. Not only could you put your life and the lives of others at risk, but a DUI arrest means a loss of freedom and money, including going to jail, losing your license, and paying steep financial expenses. The average DUI cost? About $10,000.
NHTSA data shows that young drivers (18 to 34 years old) are especially at risk of driving drunk. In fact, 49 percent of the drivers 18 to 34 years old who were killed over the July Fourth period in 2015 were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher). Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2015, more than a third (36%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.
Not surprisingly, drunk driving is more common at night. Over the July Fourth holiday in 2015, nearly half (44%) of the drivers in nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired, compared to 19 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.
“This Fourth of July, don’t risk losing your life or your independence by drinking and driving. Help make everyone’s holiday in Clinton safer by driving sober,” said Chief Ford Hayman. “Remember,” Hayman warned, “there’s no excuse—Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
Chief Hayman recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving.
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.
- Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app available on Google Play for Android devices: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en), and Apple’s ITunes Store for IOS devices: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact Clinton Police at 601-924-5252.
- Know a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.