The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is reminding people to be safe and smart while celebrating the Fourth of July holiday.
While Independence Day is synonymous with backyard barbecues, fireworks and parades, it is also one of the most dangerous times on the road for alcohol-related crashes.
According to preliminary numbers from the California Highway Patrol, seven people were killed and 73 injured in alcohol-related crashes statewide on the Fourth of July last year. Every deadly crash involved a driver who had been drinking.
“We all know driving after drinking is bad, but many people continue to do so,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “Be mindful of others participating in Fourth of July festivities and choose a sober way to leave a party or event.”
Additional officers will be on patrol over the Independence Day holiday to stop drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The OTS wants to make drivers aware that a DUI doesn’t just mean booze.
Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana can all affect your ability to drive, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
If you are headed to a Fourth of July event or party, designate a sober driver before leaving. Hosting a party? Offer nonalcoholic drinks to designated sober drivers and watch who is drinking. Make sure they are finding a safe way to get home.
“Impaired driving is a serious problem that always puts other people on the road at risk,” Director Craft said. “Don’t make a decision you will regret. The consequences are steep and often tragic.”
The average cost for a DUI arrest is $13,500, which includes vehicle impound and attorney fees, insurance premium hikes and other penalties.
There is no excuse for driving under the influence. Always remember to choose a sober way to go. If you see a drunk driver, call 911.
The OTS administers funding for traffic safety programs statewide with the goal of reducing crashes that result in deaths, injuries, and economic losses. The OTS is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).]]>