LIMA — This week, the nation will join together and have one big party to celebrate the 4th of July. As a reminder to everyone celebrating the 4th, the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol as well as other local law enforcement will be working overtime to enforce Ohio’s impaired driving laws throughout the holiday to keep our roadways safe from impaired drivers.

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash every 48 minutes. In America during 2017, there were 10,874 traffic fatalities that were the result of impaired driving; 601 of those fatalities happened during the July 4th holiday (6 p.m. June 30 to 6 a.m. July 5). Over 25 percent of drivers in all 2017 fatal crashes involved young drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 years of age. In Allen County during 2018, 12 people died in fatal crashes; three (25 percent) of those people died at the hands of an impaired driver; while eight people were seriously injured in those crashes. One of those fatal crashes occurred during the July 4th holiday; however, it was not an impaired driving crash. There should never be a crash that is the result of impaired driving - NOBODY should ever die in a drug- or alcohol-related crash. Impaired driving is against the law; that’s why there is a crackdown on impaired driving during the July 4th holiday. We are reminding everyone this July 4th, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Remember, “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving”!

Throughout the long July 4 holiday weekend, law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers - not only in Allen County but across the nation.

Impaired driving will not be tolerated. Freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are jeopardized when people choose to drink and drive. Impaired drivers stand to lose a lot – driver’s license, time from job, and money in high fines and court costs. In addition, violators risk injury or death for themselves and others – and if things go very wrong - possible imprisonment for vehicular manslaughter or homicide.

— Choose a non-drinking designated driver.