Make smart travel choices this summer

Missouri Department of Transportation

The Fourth of July can be one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to crashes caused by substance-impaired drivers, excessive speeds, and distracted drivers. Alcohol, illegal drugs and even over-the-counter drugs can cause impairment. To help deter these dangerous driving behaviors, local law enforcement will be out in full force July 1-5 with increased efforts to stop impaired drivers. No warnings. No excuses. If you drive impaired, you will be arrested. Don’t risk losing your independence by choosing to drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. 

Often, people have a hard time recuperating financially from the cost of an impaired-driving arrest or the crash itself. Violators risk killing or harming others, face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, fines and court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost time at work.

In 2020, there were 14 people killed and 55 people seriously injured in Missouri traffic crashes over the July Fourth holiday. Of the 69 people killed or injured, seven were involved in a crash where there was at least one substance-impaired driver, 26 where there was a speeding driver and two were involved in a crash where there was a distracted driver.

The Fourth of July falls within the "100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” which spans the summer travel season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. “This is historically a deadly time on our nation's roadways,” said Nicole Hood, MoDOT state highway safety and traffic engineer. “Preliminary reports show that during last year's ‘100 Deadliest Days of Summer’ there were 368 fatalities and 1,722 serious injuries on Missouri roadways. We are hopeful for better results during 2021 as we strive for the ultimate goal of zero fatalities on our roadways.”

MoDOT continues to work toward a goal of zero roadway fatalities and urges all who travel in and around the Show-Me State this summer to buckle up, put the cellphone down, slow down and never drive while impaired. Whether driving through a work zone, sharing the road with motorcyclists or cruising around city streets with pedestrians in the area, slowing down and paying attention can help save lives.

For more information on Missouri’s new strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, and how everyone can participate, visit www.savemolives.com.