Plan a safe July 4th

Thursday, June 27, 2013

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

This year's holiday 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.

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. During the 4th of July holiday, on average 10 people die in collisions on Iowa's roadways - about half of those killed in alcohol-related crashes.

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, 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?