The Fourth of July is celebrated by friends and families nationwide. It’s a time for Americans to fire up the barbecue, hoist the flag, and grab a seat for that spectacular fireworks display. But before you head out for the celebrations, make sure you plan for a sober way home. In support of state and law enforcement’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see increased enforcement on Nebraska roads with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired.
“We want to be very clear about the consequences of drunk driving,” said Mark Segerstrom, Administrator, Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office (NDOT-HSO). “In every state in this country, drunk driving is illegal. It’s also incredibly deadly, and a risk we don’t want to see people take. Make no mistake: If you are caught drinking and driving, you will be pulled over and arrested. Driving under the influence of any substance will land you a DUI.”
Last year in Nebraska, as crash severity increased, so did alcohol involvement. Thirty-three percent of Nebraska’s fatal crashes were alcohol-involved, an increase from the 30 percent recorded in 2017. With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes is higher at night. Nationally, during the 2017 July 4th holiday period, of the 237 people who died in alcohol-impaired crashes, 79 percent (187) of the alcohol-impaired fatalities occurred during nighttime hours (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.).
“Sadly, many people think driving impaired is a challenge,” said Segerstrom. “The consequences are serious: If you get caught, you will be arrested, and you will receive a DUI. That DUI will follow you throughout your life. Under no circumstances is it ever acceptable to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking. Doing so endangers you, and everyone on the road with you. If you’re heading to Fourth of July parties this summer, remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”
A DUI arrest could cost you up to $10,000, not to mention the loss of your vehicle and driver’s license. You could face jail time, higher insurance rates, and hefty expenses from attorney’s fees, fines, car towing and repairs, and lost time at work.
This Fourth of July, commit to only driving 100-percent sober. Celebrate with a plan. The NDOT-HSO is urging drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.
Remember these tips for a safe night on the roads:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local Law Enforcement or dial *55 for the Nebraska State Patrol.
- Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
Don’t lose your independence on Independence Day, and don’t be a deadly risk to yourself and other innocent people. Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.