AAA: Drive Sober This Fourth of July

From watching the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Boston Esplanade to visiting the beaches of Cape Cod, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts.

But revelry mixed with high traffic volume over the holiday period can bring an increased crash risk, especially crashes involving drivers impaired by alcohol. AAA projects a record 60.6 million people will travel by car over Independence Day week – an additional 2.8 million travelers compared to last year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 487 people died in traffic crashes during the 2022 Fourth of July holiday period, and 40% of those fatalities occurred in drunk driving crashes.

During the last five years of available federal data (2018-2022), there were 2,228 traffic fatalities during the Fourth of July holiday period, 1,414 of whom were the driver. Of those drivers, 39% were drunk; the 21-34 age group had the highest percentage (50%) of drunk drivers.

“For many, the Fourth of July is a chance to celebrate with family and friends, enjoy local festivities and bask in summer weather,” said Mark Schieldrop, Senior Spokesperson, AAA Northeast. “Those who plan to partake in drinking over the holiday should make a plan to get home safely before they even open the cooler. Whether you designate a sober driver, call a taxi or rideshare or use public transportation, getting home safely must be the top priority.”

AAA encourages Independence Day party hosts to offer nonalcoholic beverage options and ensure their guests have a plan for a sober ride home before serving them drinks.

Those on the road over the holiday are reminded to always wear their seat belt. If you see an impaired driver, safely pull over and call 911.

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