FRANKFORT — The Fourth of July is a favorite American holiday filled with picnics, parties, parades and more. However, celebrating can quickly turn to tragedy when people choose to drive after drinking. The Kentucky State Police is urging everyone to plan ahead this Independence Day and designate a sober driver.
“If you drink and drive this Fourth of July, you will be arrested,” says Sgt. Michael Webb. “The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign means zero tolerance for drunken driving-no excuses.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports drunken driving fatalities typically spike during holidays such as the Fourth of July. During the Independence Day holiday in 2014 (the latest year numbers are available), 164 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
“We want you to enjoy the Independence Day holiday, but please be responsible and plan ahead,” says Webb. “If you know you’re going to drink alcohol, designate a sober driver or call someone to make sure you get home safely.”
Last year in Kentucky, there were 77 crashes due to drunken driving over the Fourth of July holiday period, resulting in 43 injuries and nine fatalities.
“Drivers must understand that alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive,” notes Webb. “You may think you’re ‘fine,’ but you’re not. Please, prevent drunken driving by only driving completely sober.”
KSP along with their local law enforcement partners throughout the Commonwealth will be out in full force over the Fourth of July weekend in an effort to keep impaired drivers off the road. The effort is funded in part by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and began Friday and extends through Monday.
To prevent tragedies from occurring, KSP recommends the following steps for a safe and happy Independence Day:
• Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
• If you see a drunken driver, contact law enforcement by dialing 911. You may dial the KSP toll-free line directly at 1-800-222-5555.
• And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get them safely to where they are going.
“This Fourth of July, don’t risk losing your life or your independence. Keep your freedom — don’t go to jail for impaired driving,” notes Webb. “Remember, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”