Long holiday weekends can be killers on nation’s roads

Staff report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Long holiday weekends can be dangerous on America’s roads, and Independence Day and the days surrounding the national holiday are among the deadliest because of drunk drivers.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) urges everyone to celebrate safely by planning ahead and designating a non-drinking driver if plans include alcohol.

More people die in drunk driving crashes in July than any other month, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The July 4 holiday is particularly deadly.

Drunk driving typically accounts for about 40 percent of all traffic deaths on July 4th and the weekend before or after. According to NHTSA, 39 percent of all traffic deaths from 6 p.m. Friday June 30 to 5:59 a.m. Wednesday July 5, 2017, were alcohol-related. Drunk driving killed 237 people that year (the most current data available from NHTSA).

“Backyard barbecues, fireworks displays and other festivities surrounding the Fourth of July holiday often include drinking, making it one of the deadliest holidays of the year,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “A lot of people take the opportunity to extend the holiday into a long weekend or vacation week, and we want everyone to be safe. Celebrate, but designate every time plans include alcohol.”

Drunk driving remains the leading killer on our roads, yet these senseless deaths are 100 percent preventable, 100 percent of the time. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving is helping create a future with No More Victims®. The campaign includes advocacy for stronger drunk driving laws including ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, support for high-visibility law enforcement, support for advanced vehicle technologies and public support for these initiatives.

MADD reminds everyone to take personal responsibility every day by using taxis, public transportation, rideshare services or calling a non-drinking friend if their plans include alcohol.


Staff report