SACRAMENTO, CALIF., July 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Fourth of July is a popular holiday with many Americans, and with good reason. It's typically a day full of backyard barbeques, hometown parades, and multi-colored firework displays, all in the name of fun. Unfortunately, a good time can turn into tragedy when alcohol and poor decisions – such as driving impaired – are involved. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) wants all Californians to have a grand 'ole time this Fourth of July, reminding them that drunk or drugged driving is not only illegal, but 100 percent preventable by planning ahead and taking a cab or designating a sober driver to get them home after the celebrations.
"If you plan on drinking over the Fourth of July holiday, take a minute before you head out to plan how you'll be getting home safely at the end of the day," said OTS Director Rhonda L. Craft. "You can show your consideration of everyone on this historic anniversary, as well as avoid the expense and headache that comes with a DUI."
Over the Fourth of July holiday period in 2012 alone, 78 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes on our nation's roads. In an effort to prevent drunk driving this Fourth of July, law enforcement agencies throughout the state are taking part in a "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign of increased enforcement with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired. If you are caught driving drunk, you will be arrested. Drivers should expect to see law enforcement out in full force, looking for impaired drivers through increased sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and other enforcement efforts.
Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased from 774 in 2011 to 802 in 2012. Not only are the fatality statistics startling, but driving drunk can also lead to serious consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial costs – the average DUI can cost $10,000.
"The best way to ensure that your holiday begins and ends happily is by taking precautions," said Craft. "The California Office of Traffic Safety, CHP, and local law enforcement are working together to make sure that everyone is aware about the increased enforcements. Officers will be working day and night to keep drunk drivers off the road."
The following tips will ensure that your Fourth of July is safe and memorable:
1) Plan your sober ride home ahead of time:
2) If you are hosting a party, have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available and encourage guests to partake.
3) If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
No matter how much you plan on drinking, it's never worth the risk to drive impaired. There's always another way home. This Fourth of July, if law enforcement pulls you over for drunk driving, you will be arrested. Just remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Information about other OTS efforts can be found at www.ots.ca.gov or via facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS and twitter.com/OTS_CA.
Chris Cochran (916) 509-3063