NHTSA reminds drivers that buzzed driving is drunk driving

KANSAS CITY – As the nation celebrates Independence Day, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 7, which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, reminds all drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. In 2022, a person was killed every 39 minutes in a drunk-driving crash on our nation’s roads, even though it is illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol.

Every year, the Fourth of July holiday stands out as one of the deadliest times on our nation’s roads. From 2018 to 2022, there were 2,228 traffic crash fatalities during the holiday, 1,414 of whom were the driver. Thirty-nine percent (545) of those drivers were drunk. Of the 1,414 drivers killed, the 21-34 age group had the highest percentage (50%) of drunk drivers.

“If you decide to celebrate Independence Day by drinking, it is your duty to not get behind the wheel. Even one drink is too many to drive safely. Making celebration arrangements with friends and family for the Fourth of July festivities is common. In the same vein, it’s crucial to plan for a sober ride home and completely rule out drinking and driving,” said Regional Administrator Susan DeCourcy. “We’re partnering with local law enforcement to remind drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Celebrating our nation’s independence responsibly is vital to prevent endangering the relatives or friends of others.”

Drivers should be safe during this Independence Day holiday by being proactive if they intend to drink. They shouldn’t wait until after drinking to plan how to get somewhere, because impairment clouds a person’s judgment. Drivers should secure a designated sober driver or call a taxi or rideshare for a sober ride home.

If a driver thinks they might be impaired, they should give their keys to a sober driver so that person can get them home safely. When a friend has been drinking and is considering driving, friends should be assertive — take away the keys and help them get a sober ride home. If you spot a drunk driver while driving, contact local law enforcement as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Drive 100% sober, because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.