Law enforcement warn drivers to stay safe on the Fourth of July
TRI-CITIES, Wash. —
Independence Day is almost here, but officials say it’s also one of the deadliest days of the year on the roads.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 100 people die on average every year in motor vehicle crashes on the Fourth of July.
It’s also one of the busiest days of the year for law enforcement.
“You expect everybody to be out going somewhere on the Fourth of July and it's usually a day that people to drink,” says Richland Police Officer Eric Edwards, who works in the department’s Traffic Safety Unit and with Target Zero. He says drinking and driving is one of the biggest causes for vehicle crashes on the holiday.
Instead of getting behind the wheel after drinking, the officer suggests using an Uber, taxi or a designated driver instead.
“All those organizations are going to be out and willing to support you to get you home safe because that's what we want. We just want everyone to get home safe at the end of the night."
For driver Aaron Goedhart, his plans for the holiday include hanging out with friends. He also plans to stay off the roads to avoid other drivers because “the later in the night, the drunker they get and the more dangerous it gets."
So far he’s been lucky on the roads, but knows first-hand the possibility of a deadly outcome: “I do know some relatives and friends that have had a couple of close calls, but I've been fortunate enough not to."
Ofc. Edwards adds that drivers need to slow down, pay attention to traffic signals and signs and be aware of pedestrians.
Another source for distraction for both drivers and pedestrians is fireworks, which can be distracting when people set them off, as well as the colors and smoke.