Plan a safe July 4th

Friday, July 1, 2011

Faster than a speeding bullet, the July 4th Holiday will be here, this year falling on a Monday which will make for one long, happy, festive holiday weekend for many fortunate souls able to savor it.

This year's Independence Day will be celebrated solemnly for many as they recall the September 11 terrorist attacks on our country and the many innocents who perished that day, and the wars still under way in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But beware Independence Day revelers, for the long arms of the law will be out in force to crack down on drunken driving this holiday period.

To protect Iowa families from the effects of drunk drivers during the 4th's festivities, the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau will support Iowa law enforcement in protecting citizens from impaired drivers. As part of the "You Drink & Drive. You Lose." national mobilization, Iowa's law enforcement, as well as law enforcement across the nation, will conduct stepped-up enforcement.

Currently, Iowa has the second lowest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities in the nation. The goal this year is to avoid any loss of life from alcohol-related or any other traffic accidents.

If you're hosting a social gathering this 4th of July, please remind your guests of the dangers and high costs of drinking and driving. It's simple. If you plan to drive, don't drink. If you plan to drink, don't drive.

The penalties for OWI can include fines that total as much as $7,500, time in jail, sky-rocketing insurance premiums, and loss of your driver's license for as long as six years.

Drivers under age 21 can be charged with OWI if their blood alcohol content is .02 or higher, and drivers of commercial motor vehicles can be charged with OWI if their blood alcohol content is .04 or greater. For an alcohol-related collision that involves loss of life or results in personal injury, drivers responsible face felony charges, large fines and prison time.

Law enforcement officers, including officers from the DNR also will be watching closely this year for boaters who operate watercraft while impaired.

And, as always, remember - "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."

Let's help take care of each other this July 4th, OK?