This 4th of July marks 240 years since the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The holiday is celebrated with parades, barbecues, picnics, and fireworks. Unfortunately, it is also a peak time for drinking and driving. Law enforcement throughout the East Bay will be stepping up enforcement over the holiday weekend.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the July 4th is the deadliest day for Americans on the road. Alcohol is a factor in 41% of 4th of July traffic deaths. From 2008 to 2012, the country averaged 127 deaths per year on July 4th alone. July 5th, which may include people driving home in the morning hours after the 4th, averaged 110 deaths annually. July 3rd is another day with high rates of traffic fatalities. Together, this makes for the deadliest driving weekend in America.
This year, with the 4th falling on a Monday, many people will be celebrating throughout the three day weekend. This includes backyard barbecues, drinking at beer tents at a 4th of July celebration, or watching fireworks with a bottle of wine. Dehydration intensifies the effects of alcohol, that comes with drinking outside in the sun. Without planning ahead of time, many people may end up driving home after drinking.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and local law enforcement have increased sobriety checkpoints and DUI patrols as part of the CHP's Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP). Enforcement will run from Friday, July 1st through the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 5th. Sobriety checkpoints have already been announced for Concord. Historically, Berkeley, Richmond, Pittsburg, and Martinez have hosted other DUI checkpoints over the busy holiday weekend.
With the increased likelihood of a dangerous accident, increased DUI patrols, and checkpoints, the 4th of July weekend is a bad time to drink any amount and get behind the wheel. Instead, planning ahead will allow you to enjoy a few drinks with friends while getting home safely. Plan a route with public transportation, designate a driver who will stay sober, have the number for a taxi, or download the Lyft or Uber app for your phone.
You may also want to take down the number of an experienced, East Bay DUI attorney in the event that you are arrested for driving under the influence. Having your attorney's number on hand will make sure that you know who to call to fight your DUI conviction. Even a first-time DUI conviction can lead to a criminal record, an ignition interlock device, and higher insurance rates.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending drivers charged with a DUI in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI conviction can affect your future, and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are a driver facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.