CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
|FOR RELEASE: June 29, 2015
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
This Fourth of July, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ by State and Local Law Enforcement in Connecticut
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.
However, the celebrations often include alcohol, and the holiday can quickly go from festive to fatal when people choose to drive impaired. From 2009-2013, nearly 40 percent of ALL traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period were attributed to alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In 2013, Forbes magazine named the Independence Day holiday “the most dangerous holiday of the year.”
Over the Fourth of July holiday period in 2013 alone (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.
To crack down on drunk driving this holiday, state and local law enforcement throughout Connecticut will be out in full force, aggressively targeting those who put their lives and the lives of others in danger.
“Law enforcement will be ramping up their targeting of impaired driving to make our roads safer this Fourth of July,” said James Redeker, the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. “This holiday, you can show your patriotism by doing your part to help make roads safer for everyone.”
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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.
In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, yet people continue to break the law and drive drunk. 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.
During that same holiday period, 35 percent of young drivers (18 to 34 years old) killed in fatal crashes were legally intoxicated. 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.
“Remember,” Commissioner Redeker added, “to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. It’s as simple as that.”
Law enforcement is not messing around this Independence Day: if you’re caught driving drunk, you will be arrested. And keep in mind that 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.
The Department of Transportation recommends these simple tips to prevent drunk driving.
• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
• Use your community’s sober ride program.
• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement.
• If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely.