You might be surprised to learn, as you’re piling the family in the car to head to that Fourth of July barbecue, ballgame, picnic or firework display, that Independence Day is the single deadliest day for traffic fatalities across the county. According to new AAA Foundation analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2000 and 2009 more people lost their lives in traffic accidents on July 4th than any other day of the year. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it also was shown to be the second deadliest day for drunk driving deaths, second only to New Year’s Day. An average of 40% of traffic fatalities on July 4th in that same 10-year period involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit (.08 or higher).
Drunk drivers put everyone on the road in danger and these numbers are a frightening reminder of how easily a holiday celebration can turn to tragedy. That's why the AAA Foundation and AAA are urging motorists everywhere to visit TakeThePledge.AAA.com to sign a quick online pledge to drive only while drug and alcohol-free this holiday weekend and all year long. Once you’ve taken the free pledge, you can share it via Facebook and Twitter, or even send personalized E-cards to encourage others to do the same. Staying safe and sober will help ensure the only red, white and blue lights filling the sky are from fireworks, not emergency vehicles.
Here are some quick tips for a Safer Holiday Celebration:
o Plan ahead and designate a driver if you’re planning on drinking at a party.
o Use alternative transportation like taxi cabs or public transit to get to and from an event.
o Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had and how quickly you’ve consumed them.
o Eat while you drink, specifically high protein foods like meats and cheeses that stay in the stomach longer, thereby slowing the body’s alcohol absorption rate.
o Use non-carbonated mixers, as the body absorbs alcohol faster when mixed with carbonization.
Tend the Bar
o Have non-alcoholic beverage options available.
o Keep the alcohol consumption under control by designating a bartender to mix the drinks.
o Never serve anyone underage.
o Don’t serve anyone who appears to be impaired
Take the Keys
o NEVER allow an impaired friend or guest to get behind the wheel.
o Step up and offer to call your friend a cab, let them sleep it off or find a sober friend to give them a ride.
Following these tips will help ensure your Fourth of July celebration is a safe one. On behalf of the AAA family, I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!!