MADD urges drivers to celebrate safely
Driving drunk was responsible for 41% of traffic deaths over July 4th weekend in 2020
MINNEAPOLIS — Mothers Against Drunk Driving urges everyone to celebrate safely by planning ahead and designating a non-drinking, unimpaired driver during the long July 4 holiday weekend.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 201 people died in alcohol-related crashes from 6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6, 2020. Drunk driving was blamed for 41% of all traffic deaths during the long weekend, and 85% of the fatal crashes occurred at night, between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
“We want everyone to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with a plan that keeps themselves, their families and their communities safe,” said Veronica Hawman, MADD regional executive director for Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, in a news release. “Whether you’re on a road trip, driving just a few blocks to a friend’s house or going out on the water for the day, the safest choice is to never drink and operate any vehicle.”
In 2020, 542 drivers killed in traffic crashes had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, and 51% were between the ages of 21 and 34.
Drunk driving deaths are rising at an alarming rate. Preliminary estimates for 2021 show more than 12,000 people were killed by drunk driving — the highest number since 2007. In 2020, one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes.
On the water, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating deaths and incidents in the United States. Alcohol was listed as the leading contributing factor in 16% of boating deaths in 2021.
“As we celebrate our nation’s independence, we can all contribute to the safety of our communities by making the right choices. If you drink, don’t drive or operate a boat,” Hawman said.
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. For more information, go to madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.