SWEETWATER COUNTY — 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 a sober way home. Sweetwater County law enforcement is taking part in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign during the Fourth of July holiday to help put an end to drunk driving.
In support of law enforcement’s dedication to protecting lives, you’ll see increased enforcement on the roads with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired.
During the 2017 Fourth of July holiday period (6 p.m. June 30 to 5:59 a.m. July 5), 237 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. These deaths accounted for 39 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic crashes that occurred over the holiday period.
The deaths also represent a 23-percent increase from 2016, during which 192 people were killed during the same holiday period.
“We are serious and want to be very clear about the costs of drunk driving,” said Green River Police Department Chief Tom Jarvie. “Drunk driving is illegal, period. It had deadly consequences and understand, if you are caught drinking and driving, you will be stopped and arrested. Driving under the influence of any substance will land you jail.”
According to NHTSA, drunk driving accounted for 29 percent (10,874) of motor vehicle traffic crash-induced deaths in 2017.
“Even today, many people think driving impaired is not a big deal,” said Rock Springs Police Department Chief Dwane Pacheco. “The consequences are real. If we catch you driving under the influence of alcohol, we will arrest you, and you’ll receive a DUI. That conviction will follow you forever.”
“It is never OK to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking. Doing so endangers you, and everyone else on the road with you. If you’re heading to Fourth of July parties this summer, remember: Drive sober or get pulled over,” Pacheco added.
“This should not come as a surprise to drivers in this country: In most states, it is illegal to drive with a BAC over .08,” added Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Rich Fischer. “But since people aren’t getting it, and since thousands of people are still dying as a result of this behavior year after year, we will be patrolling over the holiday season and we will accept absolutely zero excuses.”
Celebrate with a plan
This Fourth of July, Sweetwater County law enforcement and NHTSA urge 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.
• Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices: (https://
play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en), and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices:
(https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact area law enforcement.
• Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.