The 4th of July – America’s Deadliest Driving Holiday
Holidays make up some of the most exciting and memorable moments in our lives. With time off from work, families getting together, big sports games on TV, and fun activities going on, it’s a time to relax, have fun, and celebrate the meaning of that holiday. Unfortunately, holidays can be deadly on the road and the fourth of July holiday is considered the deadliest.
The National Safety Council out of Itasca, IL considers the 4th of the July to be the ‘deadliest holiday’ of all of the holidays in the year. It seems that the combination of alcohol and fireworks on a hot summer day with family and friends around can be a very devastating formula. In fact, it’s estimated that over 200 fatalities will occur on the road this upcoming 4th of July and around half of the deaths will be because of alcohol-impaired drivers. Sadly, some of these drivers will include teens that chose to get behind the wheel drunk.
Advice for Parents of Teens
The 100 deadliest days for teen drivers are believed to be between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The 4th of July weekend is the biggest holiday of the year during that time period. Teens are now drinking more alcohol than ever before and it’s estimated that in the United States there are 11 million teens who drink, and about 7 million of those participating in binge drinking. Parents should heavily encourage and educate their kids to not drink alcohol at all. They should also emphasize how to be safe around this holiday weekend if they have friends who are drinking.
Advice and Wisdom for Party Hosts
In the State of Georgia the Social Host Liability Laws are still in full effect. This means that if a driver from your party leaves, and you let them drive home under the influence of alcohol you can face some serious charges if that driver got in an accident. By making more people liable for DUI accidents the state of Georgia is able to reduce accidents. If you’re hosting a party consider the following tips:
- Considering having more food than drinks, this may help people consume less alcohol.
- Consider taking their keys as they arrive and notifying them they can’t drive home if they’re drunk. This can prevent any confrontations at the end.
- Consider letting guests stay at your place overnight.
- Consider setting aside a designated driver to take your guests home.
- Consider limiting the amount of alcohol per person provided at your party.
- Consider only serving alcohol until a certain time.
- Make sure no one under 21 drinks at your party.
You don’t want to be held responsible for a poor decision a friend decided to make after your party. Be a responsible host this 4th of July and protect your guests from getting out on the road under the influence.
Advice for Travelers
Many of you will be traveling this 4th of July weekend. Getting behind the wheel on this holiday is the riskiest time of the year to drive. The good news is that the simple things can help protect your life. For example 49% of car accident fatalities happen at night and two-thirds of those who died in the accidents were not wearing a seat-belt.
Here’s some advice for travelers:
- If traveling very long distances on the weekend of the 4th of July consider flying. It is more money, but with the amount of traffic around this holiday it can save time and the risk of an accident.
- Do whatever you can to minimize traveling at night. There will be accidents caused by drunk drivers in the day, but most happen at night.
- Don’t get distracted on the road. You might believe you know how to drive while looking at your phone but you surely can’t pay attention to other drivers who might be drunk as you look at your phone. Never text and drive, especially on this holiday.
- Slow down and drive the speed limit. According to the UC Berkeley Traffic Center, speeding is the biggest contributing factor to serious car crashes. Always go the speed limit, especially on this holiday weekend.
Be smart and use your best judgement this 4th of July weekend. Be aware that others may not read this article and they might make poor decisions that can cost their life or someone else’s. The 4th of July holiday is a great time of the year to celebrate our independence. The last thing you would want is to lose your individual independence by getting a DUI, or worse, killing another driver on the road. Let’s all take the proper precautions in our celebration this year.