The July Fourth holiday is just around the corner. So it should be no surprise that the driver safety programs are ramping up their awareness campaigns to remind drivers that it is dangerous to drink and drive. While law enforcement is always busy around the holidays, they know that this holiday is the most dangerous of the year for drinking and driving fatalities.
Fatalities up 28 percent in one year
Now there is a new study out by the Department of Transportation that shows a spike in drunk driving fatalities in 2016, which is the most recent year with final statistics. According to the numbers taken from this holiday (listed as July 2 at 6 p.m. to July 6 at 6 a.m.):
- There were 188 people killed in traffic crashes where at least one of the drivers was over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent for OUI (operating under the influence). This is up from a 146 fatalities in 2015, which is a 28 percent increase in one year.
- Almost half of the drivers involved in those motor vehicle fatalities had a BAC .15 percent or higher, which is about twice the legal limit for OUI.
Why the 4th?
The circumstances of each crash are different, but the July 4th holiday presents some mitigating factors for OUI. This is a holiday where people spend time with friends and family, but the events tend to be a full day outside in the sun, concluding only after fireworks. This can mean hours of drinking (which explains the high BAC statistics) and then driving home from the fireworks site in the dark and perhaps with a lot of other drivers on the road. Hopefully, you are sober for the drive home, but if you are pulled over or are involved in an alcohol-related accident, it is helpful to speak with someone who has experience defending the rights of drivers.