Drunk Driving is a Deadly Problem This Fourth of July

During the July 4th holiday, alcohol is a major factor in fatal crashes.


GOAL/POSITIONING:  The goal is to warn people of the dangers and consequences of driving while impaired. 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.

That is why the Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition, along with other highway safety, community, health and law enforcement officials, are reminding everyone this Fourth of July that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving and to designate a sober driver before the celebrations begin.


During the July 4th holiday, alcohol is a major factor in fatal crashes

  • 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.)


  • 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.


  • Alcohol-impaired-driving crashes killed 10,839 people in 2009, accounting for 32 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. That’s an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes.


  • Beware: the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 was four times higher at night than during the day.

Whether way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk. Impaired Driving creates serious consequences.

  • Alcohol impairs many of the skills that safe driving requires, including judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, visual acuity and reaction time.
  • Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. Yet many people still ignore the law. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, more than 1.44 million people were arrested for driving under the influence during 2009. 


  • The tragedies and costs from drinking and driving impaired do not just end at the potential death, disfigurement, disability and injury caused by impaired drivers.


  • Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is not worth the risk. The consequences are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be really significant and not the way you want to celebrate the July 4th holiday.
  • People that break the law often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, other fines and court costs, car towing and repairs, lost time at work, etc.
  • This summer don’t let your 4th of July end in an arrest—or even worse, death. Make smart decisions. Plan ahead so you can ensure a safe way home.
  • Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Don’t drink and drive.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring the campaign Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving which begins Sunday June 24, 2012 and continues through July 4, 2012. It encourages community members to practice safe driving practices on and around Independence Day.

Members of the Putnam CTC Coalition are available if you have any questions or would like for us to do a presentation to your organization on this or any other substance abuse trends that affect our children. Please call the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependencies of Putnam at 845-225-4646, Ext. 13 for information and referrals. Please visit and join us on Facebook by searching “Putnam County Communities That Care – NY” or by searching Twitter at “PutnamCTCNY”.

 For more information, visit For more information, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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