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Stay free from drunk driving this July Fourth


Independence Day celebrates the nation’s most cherished asset – our freedom. While some of our celebrations may look different this year, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds all Mississippians to keep free from drunk driving this holiday.

“July Fourth is the time to display not only patriotism, but also safety and responsibility,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director.  “Show your love for this country by keeping it safe and never letting anyone, including yourself, drive impaired.”

In 2018, drunk driving accounted for 29% (10,511) of motor vehicle traffic deaths, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During the Fourth of July holiday that year, 193 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Forty percent (78) of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This compares to 2017 when 38% of the July 4 holiday period fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

In Mississippi, the Highway Patrol reported issuing 3,300 citations with 43 DUI arrests during the 2019 Fourth of July enforcement period.

To enjoy a safe and responsible holiday, MDOT suggests the following:

  • Plan ahead and designate a sober driver.
  • If you are impaired, call a taxi, sober friend or family member or use public transportation.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, do not hesitate to call local law enforcement.
  • If you see someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to arrive home safely.

MDOT has accepted the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative as a part of its highway safety plan, and reducing impaired driving is a major component towards that vision.

TZD is a national safety strategy that Mississippi adopted to bring stakeholders together toward a common vision. That vision is a highway system free of fatalities through a sustained decline in transportation-related deaths and injuries.

This holiday, Mississippi law enforcement will be on duty to put an end to drunk driving through increased sobriety checkpoints, roving and saturation patrols and other enforcement efforts.

Stay independent from drunk driving this Fourth of July. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving.

For more safety tips from MDOT, visit

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