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Greene County Safe Communities Coalition Reminds 4th of July Drivers to Plan Ahead

In Local News, Media on June 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Xenia – July 4th celebrations often include cook-outs, picnics, boating, time
spent with family and friends and, of course, fireworks. But for too many
families, this holiday weekend can be filled with tragedy instead of
celebration. The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year
when it comes to alcohol-impaired-driving crashes on our roadways.

That is why the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition is reminding everyone
that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving and to designate a sober driver before the
celebrations begin.

Statistics gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over
the past 25 years show that, on average, nearly half of all deadly traffic
crashes over each year’s July 4th holiday involved some level of alcohol.

In fact, 410 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationally
during the Fourth of July weekend in 2009. Of that number, 40 percent involved
drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or

“The Fourth of July is a time most Americans spend celebrating with family and
friends, but in order to keep someone you love from becoming another deadly
statistic, each of us can do our part to combat one of America’s deadliest
crimes—drunk driving,” said Laurie Fox, Safe Communities Coordinator. “We hope
each individual will be responsible, designate a sober driver before the parties
begin and will never get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.”

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have made it illegal to
drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.

“Alcohol impairs many of the skills that safe driving requires, including
judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, visual acuity and reaction
time,” said Fox. “Even driving ‘buzzed’ is simply not worth the risk to you or
the thousands of innocent victims who are hurt or killed each year by drunk

Impaired driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. In 2009 alone, 10,839
people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, accounting for 32
percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. That’s an average
of one impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes in 2009.

Ms. Fox said that impaired drivers not only take the risk of hurting or killing
themselves or someone else, the trauma and financial costs of an
alcohol-impaired crash or an arrest can be significant. Violators often face
jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates and dozens
of other unanticipated expenses.

“We want everyone to enjoy their holiday celebrations, but it’s important when
you or a friend are out drinking, to act on that knowledge by putting down your
keys or taking a friend’s keys to not let them drink and drive,” said Fox. “And
folks need to be particularly careful at night, because the rate of alcohol
impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 was four times higher
at night than during the day.”

The Greene County Safe Communities Coalition encourages a few simple precautions
to keep themselves and loved ones safe:

-Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
-Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
-If you’re impaired, don’t get behind the wheel. Call a taxi, use public

transportation or call a sober friend or family member so you are sure to get
home safely.
-If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact the local law
enforcement dispatch — because you may just save someone’s life.
-Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Take the keys and help them
make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.

“Remember, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so whether you’ve had way too many,
or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk to yourself or others to get
behind the wheel,” said Fox. “Please plan ahead and designate a sober driver
before the party begins.”

For more information, please visit http://www.StopImpairedDriving.org.

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