Enjoy the 4th but be careful, military warns
Military officials want people to enjoy the food and fireworks of the Independence Day holiday, but recommend they don’t enjoy it too much.
The 4th of July weekend is statistically one of the highest times of the year for drinking-and-driving arrests and deaths for Americans.
The services are taking different avenues to curb drinking and driving over the holiday.
U.S. Army Europe is taking the most active role.
“U.S. military police will intensively enforce drunk driving laws and seat belt compliance on military installations and in housing areas at various times July 4 through 7,” said Lt. Col. Carol McKinney, chief of law enforcement operations at the Installation Management Agency Office of the Provost Marshal in a press release Tuesday. “The aim is to prevent the deaths and serious injuries that result from people driving under the influence of alcohol or without seat belts.”
This is being run in conjunction with “Booze it and Lose It” and “Click It or Ticket” campaigns, which are run at various times through the year. This year, Army officials have run the programs over the Easter and Memorial Day weekends.
Safety officials at Naval Forces Europe said they are also running traffic safety campaigns, but nothing specifically for Independence Day.
“We’re working on a single-sailor program to control their drinking,” said James Walter, Naval Forces Europe safety and fire program manager. “We’re running the ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign, rotating it between bases as needed.”
Like the Navy, Air Force officials aren’t focusing on the holiday weekend.
“We have constant programs going on, not necessarily targeting drinking and driving,” said Master Sgt. David White, action officer for police services at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Security Forces Directorate. “We do random checks [of vehicles] all the time. We’re looking for anything out of the ordinary.”
The Mothers Against Drunk Driving Web site shows that 206 people were killed in traffic accidents on July 4, 2001, in the United States. Of these, 61.8 percent, or 127 people, died in alcohol-related accidents. The 2001 data is the most current information available.
U.S. European Command’s safety officials said they don’t keep individual drinking-and-driving statistics.