WYDOT, WHP urge people to stay safe this July 4 and always drive sober

People celebrating this Fourth of July should plan ahead and make sure they have a designated driver if they decide to drink.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) want to remind people to stay safe this holiday season and throughout the year by not driving drunk.

“The Fourth of July is a time for celebrating our nation’s independence and heritage,” said WYDOT Director K. Luke Reiner. “We want people to get together and celebrate with their loved ones and friends, but we want them to do so safely. Always make sure you have a designated driver if you decide to drink and never forget to buckle up every ride, every time.”

Statewide crash statistics during the July 4 holiday – two days before, the day of and two days after – have fluctuated throughout the years since 2014.

During a five-year period between 2014 and 2018, Wyoming has averaged about 13 crashes per year during the holiday period, statistics from WYDOT’s Highway Safety program indicated. The state had the most crashes in 2015 and 2016 with 17 each year. During the other years, there were 15 crashes in 2014, 10 in 2017 and seven in 2018.

The state also had three fatal crashes each year in 2014 and 2017 during the holiday period. The other years had zero.

On the national level, there were 146 people killed in drunk driving crashes in 2015 during the Fourth of July holiday, information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated. Out of that number, about two-thirds killed were in crashes where at least one driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher, which is almost twice the legal limit. The 2015 stats are the most recent available from NHTSA. 

“One fatality is one too many,” WHP Col. Kebin Haller said. “Everyone needs to do their part to make sure their friends and loved ones get home safely. If you’ve been drinking, get a sober ride. If one of your friends or loved ones is about to drive drunk, offer them a ride if you haven’t been drinking, or help them find a sober ride.”

To stay safe this Fourth of July, NHTSA offers several ways for motorists to be responsible. They include:

  • Planning a safe ride before you start the party by designating a non-drinking friend as a designated driver.
  • Stopping a person who has been drinking and is about to drive by taking their keys and arranging a sober driver for them.
  • Calling a taxi or ride service if you’ve been drinking and do not have a sober friend to take you home.

For additional information about this news release, contact Aimee Inama, senior Public Affairs specialist, at (307) 777-4013. 

Sobering national statistics about drunk driving this Fourth of July

Think you're sober enough to drive? Think again. The following are some sober facts about drinking and driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Never drive drunk. It's simple. If you decide to have a drink, always designate a driver.

  • In 2016, 10,497 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes—almost a third of all traffic fatalities nationwide. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors. 
  • It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher in all 50 States and the District of Columbia—no exceptions. 
  • Over the 2016 Fourth of July holiday (6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6), 188 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 or higher. This is a 28-percent increase from 2015, during which 146 people were killed during the same holiday period. 
  • During the 2016 July Fourth holiday period, nearly half of those who died in a vehicle crash were involved in a crash with at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .15 or higher—almost twice the legal limit.
  • Alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes during the 2016 July Fourth holiday period was more than three times higher at night than it was during the day.
  • From 2012 to 2016, there were 780 people killed in drunk-driving crashes over the Fourth of July holiday periods.

Check out the videos below from the NHTSA.

Watch full screen for a 360-degree experience.

Drive sober or get pulled over
Drive sober or get pulled over