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The worst way to celebrate the Fourth of July is with a DUI, and yet many Americans will make poor drinking and driving choices over the Independence Day holiday weekend.
Perhaps these drivers aren't aware of the consequences of choosing to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
For those in the know this Fourth of July, and those who may need some educating, we present these four sobering facts every driver should know:
1. There's a Spike in DUIs Over the Fourth of July.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 10,322 fatalities involving drunken driving in all of 2012, accounting for almost one-third of the total motor vehicle traffic deaths that year. And while these numbers may seem very general, the chances of a drunken driving fatality spike around the Fourth of July holiday.
NHTSA data reveals that from 2008 to 2012, 765 people died in Fourth of July drunken-driving crashes, accounting for about 40 percent of traffic fatalities during the five-year period.
2. A Lot More Drunken Drivers Hit the Road at Night.
Most holiday parties end with a driver leaving once the sun has set, but the danger of a deadly DUI increases at night.
According to NHTSA, drivers involved in fatal crashes on July 4, 2012, had rates of impairment 2.5 times higher at night than during the day. So late-night revelers, you may want to consider waiting until dawn to drive home if it means avoiding severely intoxicated drivers.
And keep in mind, even driving with a BAC below 0.08 percent can result in a DUI.
3. There Will Be Lots and Lots of DUI Checkpoints.
Every year, cities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia set up DUI checkpoints to catch drunken drivers during the Fourth of July holiday. These checkpoints are legal, and you may be stopped without any reasonable suspicion at one of them.
4. You May Spend Some Extra Time in a Holding Cell.
Because holiday weekends also mean long weekends for the court system, if you are arrested at the beginning of three three-day Fourth of July weekend, you may not see a judge until Monday or Tuesday. If you can't make bail or bond, you may have to spend three days in police custody after a DUI arrest. Not a great way to spend a Fourth of July weekend.
Keep these facts in mind when you're behind the wheel this Fourth of July. And if you do happen to get busted for drunken driving, remember that an experienced DUI lawyer is just a click or a phone call away.