Drive sober or get stopped

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CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – This Independence Day holiday weekend, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is reminding drivers of the dangers of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol Drive sober or get stopped Enforcement mobilization with high visibility.

The primary objective of the law enforcement presence will be to prevent the tragedies previously seen around the Fourth of July holiday.


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11,654 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle accidents involving an alcoholic driver in 2020. In the same year, 493 people died in traffic accidents involving motor vehicles in July 4th holiday season (July 2 6 p.m. to July 6 5:59 a.m.). Forty-one percent (201) of these deaths occurred in drunk driving accidents.

It is important to understand that impairment can occur after as little as one or two drinks.

“It’s as simple as that: don’t drive if you’ve been drinking or taking drugs or certain prescription medications. Not only is it dangerous, it’s illegal,” Gov. Jim Justice said.

“A DUI costs thousands of dollars in subpoenas, court fees, increased insurance premiums, and other costs. In addition, it puts you, your passengers and all road users at risk for avoidable accidents, injuries and deaths. For the cost of a sober drive, this can be avoided and keep us all safe. There is never an excuse for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking or using harmful substances such as drugs or medication that interfere with a user’s ability to drive safely,” said Bob Tipton, GHSP Director.

From 2016 to 2020, 1,390 drivers died in traffic accidents during the July 4 holiday season. Thirty-nine percent (542) of the drivers killed were alcoholics (with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher), and more than half (51%) were between the ages of 21 and 34. With many July 4th celebrations ending late at night, the night hours are particularly dangerous: during the holiday on July 4th, 2020, 85% of the 201 people killed in road traffic accidents involving drunk vehicles occurred at night (6:00 p.m.– 5:59 a.m.).

“We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy 4th of July holiday. That means we need to be upfront about the dangers of drunk and drug driving,” continued Tipton. “A lot of people think that a drink or two doesn’t affect them. Or they might think they won’t get caught. In both cases they would be wrong. Law enforcement will be out this weekend looking for disabled drivers.”

Celebrate with a plan
This July 4th, GHSP, NHTSA and local, county and state law enforcement agencies are working together to urge drivers to designate a sober driver before drinking alcohol. If you plan on drinking or using harmful substances, plan not to drive.

Remember that drinking and driving is never okay. Even if you’ve only had one alcoholic beverage, the GHSP recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

  • Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transit or a car service to get home safely. It could save you $10,000 on a DUI.
  • If available, use your community’s Sober Ride program.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the local police.
  • Got a friend who’s drinking and driving? Take away the keys and make arrangements to bring your friend home safely.

“Driving with a disability is a bad decision that can have deadly consequences. Never drive if you have taken an impairing substance. If you are a designated driver, stick to the plan: do not use alcohol or drugs, whether obtained legally or illegally. For all drivers, your seat belt is your best protection against disabled drivers on the road. Wear it on every trip and make sure your passengers do too,” concluded Tipton.

This July 4th, make a commitment to only drive 100 percent sober. On Independence Day, don’t lose your independence and don’t take mortal risk to yourself and other innocent people. Remember: Drive sober or get stopped.

Learn more about impaired driving at nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving. For more information on the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit roadsafety.wv.gov http://www.dmv.wv.gov/ghspor and call 304-926-2509.

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