ST. PAUL — The Fourth of July is state’s deadliest day of the year on the road, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. In the last three years, Independence Day racked up 15 traffic deaths, topping May 22 (13), May 23 (11) and July 10 (11) for the deadliest 24-hour period.
DPS officials are stressing that motorists buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and plan ahead for a sober ride for the holiday.
Midway through the year, there have been 147 traffic deaths, compared to 136 at this time in 2011.
Fourth of July travel periods (78 hour period surrounding the holiday), 2009–2011:
“The spike in drinking and driving deaths during the Fourth of July is a clear and simple reminder why Minnesotans need to plan ahead for a sober ride.” says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.
Consequences of a DWI include thousands in costs, increased insurance rates, loss of license and possible jail time. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Ignition interlock requires the driver to provide a breath sample below 0.02 alcohol-concentration in order for the vehicle to start. Learn more about ignition interlock at www.MinnesotaIgnitionInterlock.org.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements, and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.