WEST VIRGINIA GOVERNOR’S HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAM REMINDS MOTORISTS: DRIVE SOBER DURING JULY 4TH HOLIDAY
CHARLESTON, WV -- This Fourth of July holiday weekend, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and law enforcement agencies in West Virginia to decrease impaired driving. The GHSP is working to spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving, and to remind all drivers: If you plan to drink alcohol, plan ahead for a sober driver. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. “We know people want to celebrate the July 4th holiday and enjoy all that Almost Heaven West Virginia has to offer, but everyone has an obligation to do so responsibly,” said Gov. Jim Justice. According to the NHTSA, 10,142 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up late in the evening, more cars will be on the roads at night. In 2019, 515 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period (6 p.m. July 3 to 5:59 a.m. July 8). Thirty-eight percent (198) of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. From 2015 to 2019, there were 1,339 drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the Fourth of July holiday period. Thirty-eight percent (512) of the drivers killed were alcohol-impaired (BAC of .08+). During the 2019 July Fourth holiday period, 69% of those who died in alcohol-impaired crashes were in a crash involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .15. Nighttime hours are especially dangerous: Over the 2019 July Fourth holiday period, of the 198 people who died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, almost four out of five (79%) of them occurred in nighttime crashes (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.). “Unfortunately, people think that one or two drinks won’t affect them or their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle,” said Bob Tipton, GHSP Director. “I would tell them they’re wrong. In fact, they could be dead wrong. It’s not a risk worth taking. When you drive impaired, you put yourself and everyone else on the road at higher risk for being in a fatal crash. “If a person chooses to drive after drinking alcohol, that choice has a lot of potential consequences,” Tipton continued. “People don’t realize that a DUI will follow you throughout your life. If you drink during your July 4th festivities, make a smart choice and get a sober ride home.” Celebrate with a Plan If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving. The GHSP recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
This Fourth of July, commit to only driving 100-percent sober. Don’t lose your independence on Independence Day, and don’t be a deadly risk to yourself and other innocent people. Remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving. For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit www.dmv.wv.gov/ghsp or call 304-926-2509.
- 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 available, use your community’s sober ride program.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
- Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.