Celebrate America this Fourth of July with a plan for sober driving

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Drunk-driving crashes account for about one-third of all traffic deaths each year -- including on Saint Patrick's Day, one of the biggest drinking nights of the year.


The last few months have brought incredible challenges for our communities. As our nation begins to reopen, many Americans will be eager to celebrate the Fourth of July with family and friends.

Amid our holiday liberties, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) want to remind drivers not to let the celebration turn dangerous by driving impaired.

Nationally, 193 people died in motor vehicle crashes during the 2018 July Fourth holiday, the most recent period for which statistics are available, and 78 of these fatalities occurred in an alcohol-impaired crash.

On the Fourth of July in 2018, one life was lost in Iowa due to an alcohol-related crash. On July 4, 2019, Iowa experienced 112 crashes with two fatalities and nine serious injuries. These fatalities and injuries are certainly nothing to celebrate.

According to the NHTSA, 71% of those who died in alcohol-related crashes were in vehicles involving a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher, almost twice the legal limit of .08.

This year law enforcement agencies across Iowa will be participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from July 3 to July 7 . In an effort to combat impaired driving, officers will be exhibiting zero tolerance for impaired drivers.

Impaired driving is not only dangerous but illegal, and it puts everyone on the road in jeopardy. There is also a financial aspect of driving impaired. An OWI arrest can cost up to $10,000. You could lose your license, your car and your job.

Before you set out to celebrate this holiday weekend, make a plan: have a designated driver, call an Uber, or other rideshare service.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the GTSB remind you that it is never okay to drink and drive.

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