San Rafael, CA – July 1, 2013. Most Americans may not realize it, but the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
That’s why this Fourth of July law enforcement throughout Marin County is stepping up enforcement efforts as part of the ongoing Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force, joining thousands of agencies statewide in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement crackdown to catch and arrest impaired drivers who put themselves and others at risk.
“The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays due to impaired-driving fatalities,” said San Rafael Police Traffic Sergeant Jim Correa. “Too many people die behind the wheel each year due to those who choose to drive after drinking, so our officers will be out in full force this Fourth of July holiday weekend showing zero tolerance for impaired drivers.”
To save lives on our roadways the Marin County DUI Task Force will be cracking down on drug and alcohol impaired driving with a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint and DUI saturation patrols. In addition, the CHP will be deploying all available officers onto freeways and county roads for its Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP).
Impaired-driving crashes killed more than 10,000 people in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. That’s an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 51 minutes. Even without a crash, there are numerous consequences as a result of being caught driving impaired, such as jail time, insurance hikes, loss of driver’s license, embarrassment, and costs up to $10,000, just to name a few.
But the percentage of fatalities from impaired driving spike around the Fourth of July. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 392 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the Fourth of July holiday in 2010 (6:00pm July 2- 5:59am July 6.) Of those fatalities, 39 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
Often Fourth of July celebrations start during the day, but last well into the night – making the dangers from impaired drivers even higher at night.
“The amount of alcohol that one can consume during a day-long party or celebration can drastically impair the motor skills needed to drive safely,” said Sergeant Correa “Add the fact that other impaired drivers are on the road, and that one’s visual skills decrease at night, and you have a recipe for disaster.”
What is even more tragic about these statistics is the high number of fatalities among 18- to 34-year-olds. Forty-six percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities during the 2010 Fourth of July holiday period were within this age group. These are people who have their whole life ahead of them, but in one instant, one act of irresponsibility,and they can lose it all.
“Those who try to drink and drive this Fourth of July should be forewarned. We will be out in force looking for impaired drivers, and we will catch and arrest you. No warnings. No excuses,” said Sergeant Correa.
The Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force recommends these simple tips for a safe Fourth of July:
Avoid the 13 Marin County July 4th Holiday Enforcement Operations:
Sobriety/Drivers License Checkpoint:
FRIDAY, July 5, 2013 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. in San Anselmo
DUI Saturation Patrols:
Thursday through Sunday, July 4 - 7: DUI Saturation Patrols will be on the lookout for impaired drivers throughout the county. California Highway Patrol Maximum Enforcement Period: CHP will assign all available officers to the region’s freeways, state highways and unincorporated roads beginning 6 PM Tuesday through midnight Wednesday.
Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration