Independence Day…the 4th of July…is all about celebrating your freedoms. If you truly want to maintain your independence as an American citizen this year, you might want to heed the warning of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and live the mantra: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,
During the long holiday weekend ahead, law enforcement will work to put an end to drunk driving, through special enforcement efforts. In support of law enforcement’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see increased enforcement on the roads with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving accounted for 29-percent (10,511) of motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2018.
With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads at night. In 2018 alone, 193 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period (6 pm July 3rd to 5:59 am July 5th). Forty-percent (78) of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. That compares to 2017 when 38-percent of the July 4th holiday period fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey says, “It’s a shame we have to keep repeating ourselves, but the message remains the same: Drunk driving is deadly and illegal, and it’s illegal in every state in this country.” He adds, “We want our community to stay safe, so 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.”
Bailey reports, “Sadly, many people think driving impaired is no big deal,” and adds, “The consequences are serious: If we catch you driving under the influence of alcohol, we will arrest you, and you’ll 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, your passengers, and everyone on the road with you. If you’re heading to Fourth of July parties this summer, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
This Fourth of July, Sheriff Bailey and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urge drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the day. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.
The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- 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 sharing service to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the County of Berrien Dispatch Center at (269) 983-3060.
- 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.
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.
In addition to the extra enforcement patrols on Independence Day, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will be partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by dedicating deputies to extra enforcement patrols in regards to the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign during the period from July 1st through July 19th this year.