Kansas City, Missouri - On July 4th, millions of Americans celebrate the birth of our nation. This Independence Day, U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Region 7 wants you to celebrate responsibly. In support of law enforcement’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see increased enforcement on the roads with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired. Whether you’re driving or hosting a party, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Each 4th of July holiday, families across our nation lose loved ones in crashes where alcohol is involved. In 2018, 193 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes, accounting for 38% of the traffic deaths during that holiday period. Even one drink can be one too many.

Like drunk driving, driving high is impaired driving, which means it is dangerous and illegal in all states. Whether the drug is obtained legally or illegally, prescription or over-the-counter, drug-impaired driving can be deadly for drivers, passengers, and others on the road.

According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2018, and 29% of those fatalities occurred in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08.

“Sadly, many people think driving impaired is no big deal,” said Regional Administrator, Susan DeCourcy. “The consequences are serious; law enforcement will have zero tolerance for impaired drivers. Driving under the influence endangers you, your passengers, and everyone on the road with you. If you’re heading to 4th of July parties, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

Over the past 25 years, the number of automobile crashes with fatalities where at least one driver involved tested positive for drugs has surged across all Region 7 states. In 2018, the percent of crashes with fatalities where at least one driver tested positive for drugs: Arkansas 38.8%, Iowa 21.4%, Kansas 11.4%, Missouri 36.8%, and Nebraska 12.6%.

NHTSA Region 7 urges drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you know you will be at a 4th of July festivity or party and plan to drink, make plans ahead of time for a sober ride home, or to stay over.

Remember that it is never okay to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Use public transportation or a rideshare service.

If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.

Stay safe this Independence Day, enjoy the fireworks, and remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.