ITD partners with law enforcement for safe Independence Day

BOISE—Independence Day is nearly here, and as many prepare for the fireworks and cookouts they are also being asked to prepare for a sober ride home. This Fourth of July holiday, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state to remind Idahoans to drive sober or get pulled over.

Between July 1-7, law enforcement officers across Idaho will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. Nearly 60 different agencies will take part in a statewide effort to keep people safe during the holiday.

“The Fourth is a really fun time of year, but it can also be very dangerous,” said ITD highway safety manager John Tomlinson. “If people choose to drink while they’re celebrating, it’s important they’re mindful of the dangers of impaired driving and that they have a plan for a sober ride home.”

Between 2013 and 2017, impaired driving was a factor in 38 percent of all fatal crashes in Idaho. With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes is higher at night – 57 percent of all impaired driving crashes in Idaho happen between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.

“This is a holiday where parties go late into the night and with that comes an increased risk,” Tomlinson said. “If you know you’re going to be celebrating with alcohol, leave your car at home – you can designate a driver, get a taxi, get a ride share, or just call a sober friend.” 

Tomlinson also says you don’t have to be a driver to help keep our roads safe during the holiday. If you see someone who’s had too much to drink, he encourages you to help them find a sober ride home.

“The Fourth of July is about coming together and celebrating what unites us. Keeping your friends and loved ones safe is a great way to show you care,” he said.