To assure that you only see the flashing lights of fireworks this Independence Day, and not those of a police car, be smart – don’t drive impaired.
Local law enforcement will be especially watchful for impaired drivers June 30 – July 4 for this year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
In all of the 2016 fatal and serious injury crashes in Missouri, 15 percent involved a substance-impaired driver. Throughout the Fourth of July holiday last year, seven people lost their lives and 38 were seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes. Of those, three fatalities and five serious injuries involved a substance-impaired driver.
“Whether it’s the loss of a loved one or someone is seriously injured, each and every impaired driving crash is 100 percent preventable,” said Meghan Carter, executive director of MADD Missouri. “We remind everyone, if your plans include alcohol, whether on land or on water, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety recommends simple tips to avoid a substance-impaired driving tragedy: designate a sober driver, call a cab or sober friend, call law enforcement if you suspect an impaired driver and always wear your safety belt.
Keep in mind some of the consequences of choosing to drive impaired:
- If you cause a fatal crash, you can be charged with involuntary manslaughter – a felony resulting in up to seven years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.
- Your license can be suspended for 90 days on your first conviction, and you could be fined up to $500 and spend up to six months in prison.
- Anyone guilty of a second impaired driving traffic offense will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car before reinstating driving privileges.
- If you refuse a sobriety test, you can lose your license on the spot and have your car impounded.
Driving impaired, or riding with someone who is, isn’t worth the risk. The goal of zero deaths is attainable. Be smart – drive sober or get pulled over.