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The Freedom to Make Safe Choices

The Freedom to Make Safe Choices

Ways to avoid Fourth of July fatalities this holiday

Independence day is here. Sparklers sizzle in the air, flags wave high in the sky, and, for some reason, many people get drunk. This makes driving during the holiday especially dangerous. Over the 4th of July period in 2017, 601 people died in motor vehicle accidents, 39% of which were due to alcohol impairment. The National Safety Council estimates that 565 people may be killed on the road this year, and an additional 64,500 may be seriously injured in crashes.

The data is staggering. What’s worse is that it is avoidable.

If you are over 21, designate a sober driver, plan to stay the night, use public transport, or use a ride service to get home. However, keep in mind that while you are making good decisions, others may not be. Be cautious on the road. If you see a drunk driver (i.e. swerving, stop-and-go driving, speed inconsistencies), pull your car over, call 911, and give as much information as you can: location, a description of the vehicle, and a description of the suspicious activity.

If you are under 21 or the parent of someone under 21, understand that is it illegal to drink alcohol underage. While it may be easy to say ‘One sip won’t hurt’ or ‘Everyone else is drinking’ the consequences will last far longer than the alcohol in your system. It is just not worth it. Also, Independence Day has many other components besides drinking.

  • Fireworks: a socially acceptable pyromania. Please remember to be safe when participating.
  • Barbeque: brats, burgers, dogs, veggie-burgers, there are endless possibilities. To go with your barbeque, check here for non-alcoholic drink ideas.
  • Festivals and Parades: Many towns have events for the holiday. This could include carnival games, amusement rides, and fair food. Who can turn down funnel cake and fried Twinkies?

Enjoy the fireworks and be unabashedly patriotic as we celebrate our independence. Just remember to plan ahead and make safe choices this Fourth of July.

Ciera DuBan
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