XENIA — This Independence Day, Greene County Safe Communities, Greene County Public Health, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are urging drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for holiday festivities.
According to GCPH, during the 2016 Fourth of July holiday (6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6), 188 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. This is a 28-percent increase from 2015, during which 146 people were killed during the same holiday period.
“We want our community to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday, but we want them to do so responsibly,” said Jillian Drew, Health Educator at Greene County Public Health and Safe Communities Coordinator. “This is why we’ve partnered with NHTSA to help get the message out that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. This is not a joke, and it’s not a time to test the laws. Drunk driving is illegal, but it’s also deadly. It’s deadly to the driver, to the driver’s passengers, and to other road users in this community. We’re imploring you: Please ensure you have a sober driver lined up to get you home safely from your holiday festivities. Doing so could save a life.”
According to NHTSA, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016, and 28 percent (10,497) of those fatalities occurred in a crash during which the driver had a BAC over the legal limit of .08. With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes is higher at night. During the 2016 July Fourth holiday period, it was more than three times higher at night than it was during the day.
“We need every single adult who plans to drive on the Fourth of July to hear us loud and clear,” said Drew. “Drunk driving is deadly. It’s a selfish decision that jeopardizes the lives of many. Please work with us and designate a sober driver. If you plan to be the sober driver, then don’t drink, not even one — your friends are relying on you.”
Prepare for the Fourth
Officials have released these safety tips to remember this holiday:
— Remember that it is never okay to drive after drinking. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
— Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. 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 local law enforcement.
— Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
The Costs of Drunk Driving
“Drinking and driving is dangerous, even if you’re ‘just buzzed’. When you drive impaired, you risk your life and safety, and the lives and safety of those riding with you and around you. Does mortality not get your attention? Maybe money will: A DUI arrest could cost you up to $10,000, not to mention the loss of your vehicle and driver’s license. You could face jail time, higher insurance rates, and hefty expenses from attorney fees, fines, car towing, repairs, and lost time at work,” GCPH officials wrote in a release.
For more information on impaired driving, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov. For more information about GCPH, call 937-374-5600 or visit the website at www.gcph.info.