Law enforcement across the state will be out in full force during the Fourth of July holiday period, cracking down on impaired drivers with an aggressive “Drunk Driving: Over the Limit, Under Arrest” enforcement blitz. For many people, the holiday weekend includes get-togethers that include alcohol, but the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) urges partiers to plan responsibly and to totally avoid driving after drinking.

“Driving while drunk isn’t worth the tremendous risk,” said Scott Watkins, OHSO director. “No matter what your age, if you’ve been drinking, you need to find a safe and sober ride home or your chances of arrest are high.”

During the 78-hour Independence Day holiday period in 2009, five people were killed in five fatal crashes on Oklahoma roadways. Alcohol use was a determining factor in three of those crashes. Thirty-seven  more people were injured in 25 other alcohol-related collisions in Oklahoma.

“Too many people still fail to understand that alcohol and driving don’t mix,” Watkins said. “Impaired driving is no accident – nor is it a victimless crime. It’s vitally important that we bring this tragic situation to an end. You don’t have to be ‘falling down drunk’ to be a threat to yourself and others on the road,” he said.

Watkins recommends the following guidelines for those planning a Fourth of July celebration:

Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin. Designate a non-drinking driver and give that person the keys.

If impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. If a drunk driver is seen on the road, don’t hesitate to call law enforcement officers.

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