Don’t Drink and Drive this Independence Day
“No excuses,” says NPD Sgt. Derek Zook
Every year, Americans head out on our roads to celebrate the Fourth of July at picnics,
parties, parades and more. Unfortunately, for many, the celebrating includes drinking alcohol, which too often leads to drunk driving on one of the most traveled holidays of the year.
That’s why Naperville Police will be on patrol this Independence Day, making sure motorists are driving sober.
“Don’t even think about drinking and driving this Fourth of July – or you will be arrested,” said Sgt. Derek Zook.
“The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving – no excuses.” In addition to looking for drunk drivers, Naperville Police will be stepping up seat belt enforcement, particularly at night when seat belt usage rates are at their lowest.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that young drivers (18 to 34 years old) are especially at risk of driving drunk. In fact, nationally, 58 percent of the drivers 18 to 34 years old who were killed over the July Fourth period in 2014 were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher). Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2014, more than a quarter (29 percent) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.
The consequences of drunk driving include putting your life and the lives of others at risk, but a DUI arrest also means a loss of freedom and money, including going to jail, losing your license and paying steep financial expenses.
Sgt. Zook emphasizes that always designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for drunk driving. Other important tips include:
If you are hosting an Independence Day party:
- Remember that you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in a drunk driving crash.
- Make sure all of your guests designate a sober driver in advance or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
- Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
- Keep the phone numbers for local cab companies handy and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
If you are attending an Independence Day party:
- Designate a sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
- If you do not have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up, or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
- Never let friends leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while drunk.
- Always buckle up – it is your best defense against a drunk driver.
The Independence Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown is funded by federal traffic safety funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation.
About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at www.naperville.il.us.