Local law enforcement agencies encouraged area residents to be safe while celebrating Independence Day.
The Council Bluffs Police Department said Monday it will have extra officers on the patrol for the holiday “to help promote safe driving habits.”
“With the 4th of July on a Saturday we are expecting higher than normal traffic flow. So be patient, buckle up and designate a driver,” the department said in a release.
In a release, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau said they, “want to remind drivers to not let the celebration turn dangerous by driving impaired.”
Nationally, during the 2018 July 4th holiday period — the most recent statistics available — 193 people died in motor vehicle crashes, with 78 involving alcohol. On the Fourth of July in 2018, one person died in Iowa after an alcohol-related crash, the public safety department said.
On July 4, 2019, Iowa had 112 crashes, which included two with fatalities and nine with serious injuries, the department said.
“These fatalities and injuries are certainly nothing to celebrate,” the department said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 71% of those who died in alcohol-related crashes were in vehicles involving a driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .15 or higher, almost two times the legal limit of .08.
The public safety department noted law enforcement agencies across Iowa will be participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from Friday through July 7.
In an effort to combat impaired driving, officers will be exhibiting zero tolerance for impaired drivers, the department said.
Impaired driving is not only dangerous but illegal, and it puts everyone on the road in jeopardy. There is also the financial aspect of driving impaired. An OWI arrest can cost up to $10,000, according to the department.
“You could lose your license, your car and your job,” the department said. “Before you set out to celebrate this holiday weekend, make a plan – have a designated driver, call an Uber or other rideshare service.”