As our country begins to slowly re-open to activities, many Americans are going to be eager to get out and celebrate the Fourth of July with family and friends. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) are reminding drivers to celebrate safely and to not drive while impaired. In support of the effort to reduce the number of Independence Day fatalities, Iowa’s next Special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP), Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, will be operational from July 3 through July 7. Local law enforcement agencies, including police departments, sheriff’s offices, state patrols and motor vehicle enforcement, will exhibit zero tolerance for impaired drivers. The latest statistics show that nationally in 2018, there were 193 people that died in motor vehicle crashes over the Fourth of July holiday, one of those from Iowa, with 78 of the accidents related to alcohol impairment. In 2019, there were 112 crashes in Iowa with two fatalities and nine serious injuries. According to the NHTSA, 71 percent of those who died in alcohol related crashes were in vehicles where the driver had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .15 or higher, almost two times the legal limit of .08. Impaired driving is no joke. It is not only dangerous, but is illegal and puts everybody on the roadway in jeopardy. And those who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence can be facing up to $10,000 in costs, loss of their license, loss of their car and potentially even loss of their job. If you are celebrating this coming holiday weekend, plan ahead and designate a sober driver or use taxis or other rideshare services.
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