Many of you will celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks. All too often these celebrations and festivities turn tragic when someone decides to drink and drive a vehicle, warns the California Highway Patrol.
“This is a time for celebration, not tragedy,” stated CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Celebrate this Independence Day by having fun but also by being responsible in the choices you make.”
The CHP will be out in full force during the holiday weekend in an effort to reduce roadway deaths and prevent injuries.
The Independence Day Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) begins Friday, July 3, at 6 p.m. and continues through Sunday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. All available officers throughout the state will be deployed during the MEP to focus enforcement on occupant restraints, speed violations, and those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Last year during the Independence Day weekend in California, 32 people were killed with 70 percent of those killed not wearing a seat belt, according to the CHP. During that same time, more than 1,300 people were arrested by the CHP for driving under the influence.
“We want this year to be different, we want everyone to celebrate responsibly and get home safely,” added Commissioner Farrow. “Designate a sober driver before you head out to celebrate and do your part to make this a safe holiday for everyone on California’s roads.”
By planning ahead, you can potentially save another’s life as well as your own, advises the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, which offers these simple tips for a safe Fourth of July:
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi or use public transportation to get home safely.
- Make arrangements to stay overnight if unable to drive.
- Call a sober friend or family member to pick you up.
“Drinking and driving is a costly gamble. Even on a first offense, you could be looking at over $12,000 in fines, fees and other expenses,” stated Palmdale Community Relations deputy Jodi Wolfe.
According to Wolfe, the estimated costs for a first misdemeanor DUI conviction include:
- Fine (minimum): $390 or more
- Penalties (typical): $780
- Vehicle tow/storage: $187
- 15-week alcohol education classes: $500
- Victim restitution fund: $100
- DMV licensing re-issue fee: $125
- Booking, fingerprinting and photo fee: $156
- Auto insurance rate increase: $7,424 over a 10-year period
- Attorney fees: $2,500
Additional potential costs include:
- Up to 48 hours in jail, maybe more
- Lost work time and wages—or losing your job entirely
- Medical costs
- Vehicle or property damage
- Transportation costs during a 4-month license suspension
- Cost of an ignition interlock device if required by the court
- Other court-imposed fines and fees
- Civil liability
“Working together as a community, we can educate ourselves on the dangers of drinking and driving. We can plan ahead and make responsible choices so we can ensure everyone a safe holiday!” Wolfe added.
If you have any questions or concerns, email Deputy Jodi Wolfe at email@example.com.
[Information via news releases from the California Highway Patrol and the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.]