DES MOINES, Iowa – Americans love to celebrate the 4th of July with family, friends, food, and fireworks, but all too often the festivities turn tragic on our nation’s roads. This American holiday also brings increased consumption of alcohol and drugs which leads to impaired driving and deadly consequences.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationally, during the 2019 July 4th holiday period (the most recent statistics available), 515 people died in motor vehicle crashes and 198 of these fatalities occurred in an alcohol-impaired crash. During the 2019 July 4th holiday period, 69 percent of those who died in alcohol-related crashes were in vehicles involving a driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) almost two times higher than the legal limit of .08.
Over the holiday in 2019, five people lost their lives in Iowa and three of these were due to alcohol-related crashes.
Law enforcement agencies across Iowa will be participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from July 2 to July 5, 2021. In an effort to combat impaired driving, officers will be exhibiting zero tolerance for impaired drivers.
Impaired driving is not only dangerous but illegal, and it puts everyone on the road in jeopardy. There is also a financial cost to driving impaired. An OWI arrest can cost up to $10,000. Those pulled over could lose their license, car, and job.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau reminds Iowans that it is never okay to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Before setting out to celebrate this holiday weekend, make a plan – have a designated driver or call a rideshare service. Remember: If you feel different, you drive different.