EUSTIS — To help save lives on Lake County’s roadways on Independence Day, deputies will be cracking down on impaired driving through increased sobriety checkpoints, roving and saturation patrols, and other enforcement methods.
“The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays due to an increase in impaired-driving fatalities,” said Noble Olasimbo, AICP, and chairman of the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team. “Too many people die behind the wheel each year due to those who choose to drive after drinking, so Lake County officers will be out in full force this Fourth of July showing zero tolerance for impaired drivers.”
Impaired-driving crashes killed more than 9,800 people in 2011, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the U.S. That is an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 53 minutes.
The percentage of fatalities from impaired driving spike around July 4. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 428 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the week of the Fourth of July holiday in 2011. Of those fatalities, 38 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
Fourth of July celebrations often start during the day, but last well into the night – making the dangers from impaired drivers even higher at night.
“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 and potential loss of a driver’s license, just to name a few,” Olasimbo continued. “Those who try to drink and drive this Fourth of July should be forewarned. If you drive impaired, you will be arrested.”
The Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team 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.
• Those impaired should use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.
• Anyone who sees a drunk driver on the road should not hesitate to call the police.
• “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Those who know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, should take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get home safely.
For more information on the Lake County Community Traffic Team, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/departments/public_works/engineering/community_traffic_safety_team/ or call 352-483-9048. To learn more about Fourth of July safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober/.