The BPD is stepping up enforcement efforts as part of the ongoing "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" enforcement campaign to catch and arrest impaired drivers who put themselves and others at risk.
"The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays due to an increase in impaired-driving fatalities," said the BPD's Lt. Kevin Russell. "Too many people die behind the wheel each year due to those who choose to drive after drinking, so our officers will be out in full force this Fourth of July showing zero tolerance for impaired drivers."
Impaired-driving crashes killed more than 10,000 people in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. That's an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 51 minutes.
But the percentage of fatalities from impaired driving spike around the Fourth of July. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 392 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the Fourth of July holiday in 2010 (6:00pm July 2- 5:59am July 6.) Of those fatalities, 39 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
To save lives on our roadways this Fourth of July, local law enforcement will be cracking down on impaired driving through increased sobriety checkpoints, roving and saturation patrols, and other enforcement methods.
Often Fourth of July celebrations start during the day, but last well into the night - making the dangers from impaired drivers even higher at night.
"The amount of alcohol that one can consume during a day-long party or celebration can drastically impair the motor skills needed to drive safely," said Chief Kirk Lane, "Add the fact that many others may be out driving impaired, and that visual skills also decrease at night, and you have a recipe for disaster."
Impaired driving fatalities spike during nighttime hours. The proportion of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010 was almost five times higher at night (6pm to 5:59am) than during the day (6am to 5:59pm) for the July 4th 2010 holiday period (6:00pm July 2 - 5:59am July 6.) In fact, more than 80 percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities took place at nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.)
"What is even more tragic about the statistics is we see a high number of fatalities among 18- to 34-year-olds," said Lt. Russell, "Forty-six percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities during the 2010 Fourth of July holiday period were within this age group. These are people who have their whole life ahead of them, but in one instant, one act of irresponsibility, they can lose it all. There is simply too much at stake to ever drive impaired."
Lt. Russell said that there are numerous consequences as a result of being caught driving impaired, such as the risk of killing or harming others, jail time, insurance hikes, potential loss of driver's license, just to name a few.
"Those who try to drink and drive this Fourth of July should be forewarned. We will be out in force looking for impaired drivers, and we will catch and arrest you. No warnings. No excuses. If you drive impaired, you will be arrested," said Chief Lane.
Lt. Russell recommends these simple tips for a safe Fourth of July:
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
- If you're impaired, use a taxi, or call a sober friend or family member;
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to call 911 to report them;