In my first days as Secretary of Transportation, I've been thinking a lot about the tremendous opportunities our nation offers, particularly with the 4th of July holiday just around the corner. Tomorrow, I hope you'll have occasion to celebrate our more than 200 years of independence, but I also hope you'll give some thought to road safety, too.
Whether you're driving to a cookout or to catch the fireworks, please take care to drive safely and to celebrate responsibly. Millions of families will be celebrating outside, making it especially important to focus on the road.
The 4th of July holiday weekend is one of America's worst for motor vehicle crash fatalities. For example, during the Independence Day holiday in 2011--another long weekend--428 people were killed in crashes.
Many of those crashes--38 percent of them in 2011--involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
These crashes are entirely avoidable.
Here are some simple tips from our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a safe Independence Day:
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins by designating a sober driver;
- If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact local law enforcement;
- If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely;
- And remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
If you're celebrating with even one drink, I hope you'll take these tips to heart.
Wherever this 4th of July weekend takes you, I wish you and yours safe travels.