July 4 drunk driving reminders issued

For Greene County News

XENIA — The Fourth of July is a favorite American holiday filled with fun, food, fireworks, friends and family. But celebrating can quickly turn to tragedy when people choose to drive after drinking. The Greene County Safe Communities Coalition is urging everyone to plan ahead this Independence Day. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.

“The Fourth of July festivities can be so much fun,” Greene County Safe Communities Coordinator Ashley Steveley said. “People make plans for the partying, but too many drivers don’t plan ahead to get home safely.”

In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

“We’ve seen that too many drivers around Greene County think that it’s OK to drive ‘buzzed,’” Steveley said. “The truth is you don’t have to be completely wasted to get arrested for drunk driving. Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

This year, the Fourth comes on a Saturday, so Friday, July 3, is the federal holiday and observance. That means the Fourth of July weekend starts at 6 p.m. Thursday and extends to 5:59 a.m. Monday morning, July 6.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration paint a grim picture of the effect drunk driving has on America. NHTSA reports there were 10,076 fatalities involving drunk driving in 2013, accounting for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic deaths for that year. That equals about one alcohol-impaired-driving death every 52 minutes.

“Here’s what we want people to understand,” Steveley said. “Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive. Sure, you may think you’re ‘fine,’ but you’re not. The best thing to keep in mind is simply: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

More information on avoiding impaired driving can be found at nhtsa.gov/drivesober/index.html. The coalition also encourages drivers to consider downloading the NHTSA SaferRide mobileapp.

For more information on the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, contact Ashley Steveley at Greene County Public Health at 937-374-5624 or by email at [email protected]