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Published: July 3, 2024

Don’t risk your independence: Drive sober or get pulled over

Wyandot County knows how to make Independence Day special with music festivals, backyard parties and fireworks. Though people sometimes choose to enjoy the festivities without alcohol, the Wyandot County Safe Communities Coalition and local law enforcement would like to remind those who do plan to drink to first plan for a sober ride home.

Nationwide in 2022, 487 people died in traffic crashes during the Fourth of July holiday period and of these fatalities 40% occurred when a driver was drunk. On Wyandot County roadways 76 alcohol-related crashes have occurred since 2019. Every year, there has been at least one fatality and serious injury from alcohol-related crashes. So far on Wyandot County roadways in 2024, there have been eight alcohol-related crashes. One crash resulted in minor injury and thankfully the rest of the crashes resulted only in property damage.

“These crashes impact the people involved, their family and friends, the first responders on the scene, and the community.” Safe Communities Coordinator Callan Pugh said. “The coalition shares many statistics, but the most important figure to keep in mind is drunk driving is 100% preventable. Plan ahead and have a great Independence Day.”

Ensure that the only red, white, and blue lights seen on the Independence Day weekend are fireworks by creating a plan for safe Independence Day celebrations:

  • Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
  • Designated drivers should take the responsibility seriously. Even one alcoholic drink can cause impairment, so do not drink.
  • Hosting a celebration? Provide an enjoyable mocktail for sober guests.
  • Take keys away from those who are about to drive after drinking. Find a sober ride home for them instead.
  • See an impaired driver on the roadway? Ask a passenger to contact law enforcement to report it.

“It’s important to understand that impairment can occur even after just one or two alcoholic drinks,” Wyandot County Sheriff Todd Frey said. “While we wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday, we need to be clear about impaired driving. A DUI costs thousands of dollars and puts you, your passengers and everyone on the road at risk. The cost of a sober ride is worth it to avoid a DUI and to keep everyone on the roadways safe. There’s never an excuse to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking.”

Don’t risk your independence this Fourth of July or create a deadly risk for yourself and others. Commit to driving only when 100% sober. For more information on impaired driving follow @WyandotHealth on social media or visit WyandotHealth.com.

Wyandot County Public Health is nationally accredited through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). Established in 2007, PHAB is the non-profit organization that administers the national accreditation program, which aims to advance and transform public health practice by championing performance improvement, strong infrastructure, and innovation.