COLUMBUS - The Fourth of July is one of America's favorite holidays. Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, picnics and fireworks.
For many, the celebration also includes alcohol. That is why the Ohio State Highway Patrol will be out in full force cracking down on impaired drivers this Fourth of July weekend, which begins Thursday, July 2, and ends Sunday, July 5. This zero-tolerance policy is part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign aimed at removing impaired drivers from the roadways.
Last Fourth of July, the Patrol made 749 OVI arrests from Thursday, July 3, through Sunday, July 6. During this time, 11 fatal crashes resulted in 12 deaths. Four crashes were OVI-related.
Unfortunately, these enforcement campaigns are necessary--drunk driving is an epidemic in our nation. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 10,076 people were killed in OVI-related crashes in the United States in 2013--representing almost a third of all crash fatalities. By comparison, during the July Fourth period that year, 39 percent of all crash fatalities involved alcohol-impaired drivers.
"This Fourth of July holiday, you can show your patriotism by helping to make Ohio roads safer for everyone," said Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. "Remember to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. It's that simple."
The Patrol is also urging drivers to buckle up, as there were 9,580 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013 across the U.S., according to NHTSA. During the 2014 Fourth of July holiday, six of the 12 individuals killed in Ohio were not wearing safety belts.
Motorists are encouraged to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.