This Fourth of July, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over by the South Lake Tahoe Police Department
The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. And why not? Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, picnics and fireworks.
And yet there is a very dark side to this great holiday. For many, the celebration includes alcohol, which can quickly turn the holiday from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking. Between 2009 and 2013, during the Fourth of July period nearly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities occurred in alcohol impaired driving crashes. Of the five major holiday periods of the year in California, the Fourth of July ranks as having the highest daily fatality rate.
Nationally, in 2013, during the Fourth of July holiday period (6 p.m. July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. July 8th), there were 199 people killed in alcohol impaired driving crashes on our nation’s roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In California, 28 individuals were killed in Alcohol Involved crashes.
This Fourth of July, South Lake Tahoe Police Department will be out in full force targeting those who drink and drive putting their life and the lives of others in danger. DUI Saturation Patrols/DUI Checkpoints will be deployed during the holiday weekend and all patrol officers will be alert to the signs of an impaired driver.
The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely. The South Lake Tahoe Police Department will be conducting a DUI checkpoint along Lake Tahoe Blvd Wednesday July 1st, 8 pm to 1 am. This will serve as a kick off to our July 4th weekend DUI enforcement period. Several DUI saturation patrols will be conducted July 2nd till July 5th.
NHTSA data shows that 10,076 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States in 2013—representing almost a third of all crash fatalities. By comparison, during the July Fourth period that year, 39 percent of all crash fatalities involved alcohol-impaired drivers.
The rate of high-BAC impaired driving is astounding. In fatal crashes during the July Fourth period in 2013, more than one-fifth (21%) of involved drivers or motorcycle operators had BACs of .15 or higher—almost twice the legal limit.
NHTSA data also reveals that 35 percent of young drivers (18 to 34 years old) were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher) in fatal crashes over the July Fourth period in 2013. Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2013, more than one-quarter (27%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.
Drunk drivers are more common at night, too. Over the July 4th holiday in 2013, more than two fifths (42%) of the drivers in nighttime fatal crashes (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were alcohol-impaired, as compared to 13 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.
If you’re caught driving drunk or drug impaired, you will be arrested. Aside from putting your life and the lives of others at risk, driving impaired can also lead to serious consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs about $10,000.
Law enforcement region-wide is asking for everyone’s support this holiday weekend and all summer long:
Funding for the special DUI operations is by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Avoid DUI Task Force will deploy checkpoints and DUI patrols next during the August/Labor Day DUI Mobilization.
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
- DDVIP: The California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP mobile app is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices. Launched last year, the new DDVIP app offers enhanced features, allowing users to “Map a Spot” with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area or a “List of Spots” to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California. Users can stay up-to-date with the latest from DDVIP and see what other users are saying via its social tab. Also through the app, for those who want to imbibe but also make it a point to plan ahead, users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb – all from one screen.
- DRUGS, MEDICATION & ALCOHOL= CRASHES: Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate “Report Drunk Drivers! Call 911!”
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take your friend’s keys and help your friend make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely.