BOISE - This Fourth of July holiday, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is joining with law enforcement agencies across the state to remind drivers to be responsible by not driving impaired.
From July 1-7, law enforcement officers throughout Idaho will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. Nearly 60 different agencies will take part in a statewide effort to keep people safe during the holiday with increased patrols.
“When you drive impaired and choose to get behind the wheel, you not only put yourself at risk, but everyone on the road,” said Office of Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson. “If you know you’re going to be celebrating with alcohol, designate a driver, get
an Uber or Lyft, or just call a sober friend.”
Last year in Idaho, there were 36 crashes due to drunk and/or drugged driving during the week of the Fourth of July holiday, resulting in 46 injuries and 4 fatalities.
“The dangers of impaired driving are completely preventable,” said Tomlinson. “Drugs and alcohol alter your judgment. You may think you’re fine in the moment which is why planning ahead to arrive and leave safely is imperative.”
Nationwide impaired driving fatalities typically spike during holidays. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018 alone, 193 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July Fourth holiday period. Of those fatalities,
78 occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes - 40%.
To prevent these tragedies, ITD suggests the following:
• Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or use a ride sharing service to get home safely.
• Wear a seat belt! It is not only the law, it is the best defense whenever you’re in a vehicle. Buckling up helps prevent injury and death if involved in a crash.
• If you see a suspected impaired driver use your cell phone in hands-free mode to call *ISP (that's STAR, I-S-P for Idaho State Police) or 1-800-233-1212.
• Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
“We want everyone to enjoy their Independence Day celebrations but we want you to do it safely so you can be here tomorrow,” said Tomlinson. “We can all do our part and keep us and everyone around us safe.”