Don’t Drink and Drive: Get a Free Ride Home this 4th of July
The Fourth of July is a time where family and friends gather to observe our nation’s independence with parties, parades, and fireworks—food and alcohol too. To safely enjoy the holiday, it’s important to keep in mind the very real dangers of impaired driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 4th of July holiday is one of the deadliest holidays for traffic fatalities. Over this holiday period in 2017, 39% of traffic fatalities were caused by impaired drivers, a startling 23% increase from the prior year.
Impaired driving—an entirely preventable crime—comes with some significant criminal penalties and other consequences. First-time DWI offenders in the District face:
- Up to 180 days in jail;
- A $1,000 fine and other court costs;
- Suspension of driver’s license or revocation of license for up to one year.
Impaired drivers may also face heightened penalties and mandatory minimum jail terms for operating impaired with minors in their vehicle, having certain types of drugs in their system, and for operating commercial vehicles, including taxicabs.
6 Tips to Stay Safe this Independence Day
The Office of the Attorney General encourages everyone who plans to celebrate the 4th of July to do so safely and to follow these simple tips:
- Plan ahead: Before the festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night. If you wait until you’ve been drinking, you’re more likely to make the wrong decision and drive impaired when you shouldn’t.
- Designated driver: Always designate a sober driver. If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
- Use SoberRide: Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP) SoberRide program, powered by the rideshare application Lyft, will be offering free rides home to users 21 years of age or older (up to $15) from 7:00 p.m., Thursday, July 4, 2019 until 2:00 a.m., Friday, July 5, 2019. For more information about how to take advantage of this offer, please visit SoberRide.com
- Use SaferRide: Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices, and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
- Intervene: Be vigilant, and if you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.
- Pedestrian safety: Remember that walking home from the bar can also be dangerous, too. Drinking impairs your ability to make safe choices even while walking. Ask a sober friend to walk you home or arrange for a sober ride.
OAG prosecutes impaired driving offenses and educates District residents about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For more information, please contact Assistant Attorney General and Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Melissa Shear at Melissa.Shear@dc.gov