OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Area law enforcement agencies say they're stepping up enforcement to keep roadways safe as people get ready to travel and celebrate the 4th of July.
Thanks to a grant, the Nebraska State Patrol says they'll be working overtime with other agencies across the state to monitor roadways from July 3-5.
“The Fourth of July makes for one of the busiest travel times of the summer,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Troopers will be on the road both to watch for dangerous driving and to help anyone in need of assistance. Let’s all work together to keep Nebraska roads safe as we celebrate Independence Day.”
The operation will include "saturation patrols and vehicle checkpoints on roads in and around counties identified by NDOT-HSO as priority counties because of their high incidence of crashes that result in personal injury or death."
The Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office says they are also increasing enforcement during the holiday and over the weekend.
Their release says, "State and local law agencies across the state will be stepping up seat belt enforcement with the goal of protecting you and your family."
The Iowa operation will take place from July 3-7 as part of the click It or Ticket campaign.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation also sent out a release about safe driving during the holiday period:
The Fourth of July is celebrated by friends and families nationwide. It’s a time for Americans to fire up the barbecue, hoist the flag, and grab a seat for that spectacular fireworks display. But before you head out for the celebrations, make sure you plan for a sober way home. In support of state and law enforcement’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see increased enforcement on Nebraska roads with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired.
“We want to be very clear about the consequences of drunk driving,” said Mark Segerstrom, Administrator, Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office (NDOT-HSO). “In every state in this country, drunk driving is illegal. It’s also incredibly deadly, and a risk we don’t want to see people take. Make no mistake: If you are caught drinking and driving, you will be pulled over and arrested. Driving under the influence of any substance will land you a DUI.”
Last year in Nebraska, as crash severity increased, so did alcohol involvement. Thirty-three percent of Nebraska’s fatal crashes were alcohol-involved, an increase from the 30 percent recorded in 2017. With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes is higher at night. Nationally, during the 2017 July 4th holiday period, of the 237 people who died in alcohol-impaired crashes, 79 percent (187) of the alcohol-impaired fatalities occurred during nighttime hours (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.).
“Sadly, many people think driving impaired is a challenge,” said Segerstrom. “The consequences are serious: If you get caught, you will be arrested, and you will receive a DUI. That DUI will follow you throughout your life. Under no circumstances is it ever acceptable to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking. Doing so endangers you, and everyone on the road with you. If you’re heading to Fourth of July parties this summer, remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”
A DUI arrest could cost you up to $10,000, not to mention the loss of your vehicle and driver’s license. You could face jail time, higher insurance rates, and hefty expenses from attorney’s fees, fines, car towing and repairs, and lost time at work.
This Fourth of July, commit to only driving 100-percent sober. Celebrate with a plan. The NDOT-HSO is urging drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.