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Keep Roads Safe on the 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a time for celebration, but it’s also the one of the deadliest holidays of the year on America’s roads. An average of 134 crash deaths occur each year on July 4, about 40 more than the average for any other day of the year (Washington Post). The National Safety Council anticipates 540 traffic fatalities and 57,800 medically consulted injuries during the entire holiday period, from the morning of July 3 to the evening of July 7 (NSC).

As you celebrate this Thursday, make sure you have a plan to reach your destination safely!

Take Designated Driving Seriously

  • A recent study showed that 40% of designated drivers consume alcohol before driving, and 18% of the designated drivers in the study had a BAC of .05% or higher. While this is still under the legal limit, these drivers showed significant changes in mental and motor functions and driving abilities. (CBS News)
  • The National Transportation Safety Board now recommends reducing the legal alcohol limit to .05%, citing evidence that drivers with a BAC above .05% are impaired, and are at greater risk of a crash involving serious injuries or fatalities. (NTSB)
  • Agreeing to be the designated driver means that you’re committed to driving safely, not just to staying under the legal alcohol limit. If you’re ever uncertain whether you’re impaired by alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel - find another way home instead.

Use Taxis and Public Transit

  • Find out if your city or county offers free or discounted public transportation on the Fourth of July. Transit agencies may be operating on limited holiday schedules, so make sure you know when the last bus leaves!
  • Check with local taxi companies to find out if they offer free rides or lower rates, and write the number down or add it as a contact in your cell phone so you’ll have it on hand.
  • Some regional AAA auto clubs also offer Tipsy Tow or Tow-To-Go services, in which a roadside assistance service will tow you and your car back home as a last resort to keep the roads safe. This service is not nationwide, so be sure to call and check whether the program will be operating in your area!
  • The AAA DUI Justice Link provides a list of transportation resources and sober ride programs, including hired sober driver services.

Buckle Up

  • Seatbelts are an essential safety precaution every day of the year. During the Independence Day holiday period, an estimated 196 lives will be saved by wearing seatbelts, and 135 more lives could be saved if all drivers and passengers wore seatbelts. (National Safety Council)

Never Drive Distracted

  • Don’t talk or text on your cell phone while driving, and don’t let other distractions like your passengers or your car’s features take your eyes or your mind off the road! Focusing anything less than your full attention on driving puts you at extreme risk, especially with heavy holiday traffic and the possibility of drunk drivers on the road.

Remember, even though you are driving responsibly and safely, other drivers’ choices can still put you in danger. Be on the lookout for drunk drivers, and know what to do if you spot one (MADD).

Have a happy and safe Independence Day!

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