Vote for the Tech CARS Awards deadline is 1/31.

More July 4 Safety Warnings: Fatalities Predicted, Free Non-Al Drinks for DDs & Tips

We continue to see warnings about the dangers of driving on July 4 and the weekend associated with Independence day. There are apps that are offering free non-alcoholic beverages for

National Safety Council calculations indicate 582 people may be killed on the roads during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period, and an additional 66,900 may be seriously injured in crashes. It is the highest estimate the Council has issued since 2006 for a four-day July 4 holiday period, which are relatively rare. The holiday period begins at 6 p.m. ET Friday, June 30 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday, July 4.

“The Council issues these estimates to empower drivers to make safe decisions behind the wheel, because the only acceptable number of deaths is zero,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We hope Americans will spend their holiday safely watching fireworks and celebrating with families rather than sitting in an emergency room.”

Preventable deaths have reached an all-time high, according to the National Safety Council State of Safety report. These fatalities – occurring on the road, in homes and communities and in the workplace – eclipsed 146,000 in 2015, prompting the Council to call for state actions that are proven to reduce residents’ risks.

Drivers can take measures to protect themselves, too. Tips to ensure a safer holiday weekend include:

  • Wear a seat belt on every trip. About 226 people are likely to survive crashes during the holiday because they buckled up.
  • Make sure children are restrained in safety seats that are appropriate for their height, age and weight.
  • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation. Impairment begins with the first drink.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free.
  • Do not allow teens to drive with their friends. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. MyCarDoesWhat can help drivers understand the ins and outs of new technology features.
  • Check your vehicle for recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.

California Office of Traffic Safetey Warns Against DUI – App Offers Free Drinks

One of the most anticipated summertime holidays is just around the corner, and many have begun planning their celebrations with friends and loved ones. Alongside the fun and festivities, law enforcement agencies throughout California will be stepping up high visibility DUI enforcement for the Fourth of July holiday. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reminds you that while Independence Day is most commonly recognized as a time for barbeques and fireworks, the holiday is also one of the most dangerous of the year for DUI-related incidents and fatalities.

During the 2015 Fourth of July holiday period, 146 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher. In California, the July Fourth holiday ties with New Year’s as the highest alcohol DUI fatality holiday period. A DUI without a crash involved can cost up to $10,000, the loss of a driver license and even a job.

“The fun associated with the Fourth of July can instantly turn tragic for those who fail to have a plan in place ahead of time,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “When planning, it is important to also remember that DUI doesn’t just mean booze. Consuming prescription drugs or marijuana puts you at the same risk for a DUI – and possibly even worse consequences when combined with alcohol.”

To help ensure a safe Fourth of July celebration this year, the California Office of Traffic Safety reminds drivers to have a plan in place before heading to a party or event. With so many options for a safe and sober ride home, including rideshare services, there is no excuse for driving under the influence.

Party hosts should not let anyone drive when they have consumed enough alcohol, marijuana, or prescription medications to impair their judgement or driving abilities. Take their keys and help them find a safe ride home.

Those heading out on the town can download the OTS “DDVIP” mobile app in the Apple or Google Play stores. The app offers free non-alcoholic beverages and other free perks at local bars and restaurants for the designated driver in the group and includes links to ride-sharing services to get home safely.

Anyone who sees an impaired driver on the road should immediately contact law enforcement by dialing 911; it could save a life.

Safety Precautions

The congested roads and waterways mean drivers and boaters alike will be faced with a number of additional safety concerns. GEICO offers some helpful tips for a safe holiday experience.

Road Safety Tips:

  • Make buckling up mandatory – Seatbelts greatly reduce the risk of critical injuries for drivers and passengers in crashes. Before you put your car in drive, check to make sure everyone in your vehicle has buckled up – there’s no room for excuses when it comes to safety belts.
  • Declare independence from distractions – Extra holiday traffic on the roads means drivers need to pay even closer attention. Switch your smartphone to silent mode or store it somewhere out of reach. Set GPS destinations and playlists before shifting into drive and budget time on longer trips to pull off to eat.
  • Wait to celebrate – Drinking and driving is one of the leading contributors to fatal crashes on Independence Day according to IIHS. Before you drink, have a game plan in place to get home. Many options are available such as a designated sober driver, public transportation, a cab or rideshare. Driving while buzzed also means you’re driving while drunk.