Keep July 4th Celebrations Safe – If You Drink, Don’t Drive

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022

BATON ROUGE – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) urges everyone to celebrate safely by planning ahead and designating a non-drinking, unimpaired driver during the long July 4th holiday weekend.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 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.

Ava Fontenot of Houma lost her son Lindsey to a drunk driver over the July 4th holiday weekend in 2010. “He had already purchased his food and party supplies for the holiday. It would have been his first July 4th celebration with friends and family in his own home. Tragically, a wrong choice made by another person ruined that holiday forever for my family, friends, and me.”

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.

Fontenot says “If alcohol is part of your holiday celebration, please, please, please make a safe plan on how you will get to and from your destination. Make the most important holiday plan you will ever make, the plan to not drive impaired.”

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) 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. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit http://www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.