Troopers issue warning against drinking, driving during holiday weekend

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COLUMBUS — Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers will be out in full force during the entire Fourth of July weekend to crack down on impaired drivers.

Their zero-tolerance policy is part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign aimed at removing impaired drivers from the roadways.

Last year, the patrol made 291 OVI arrests from midnight July 3 through 11:59 p.m. July 4. During this time, five fatal crashes resulted in six deaths. One crash was OVI-related, resulting in one death.

During the last five years during the July Fourth holiday period, 756 people lost their lives nationwide in crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or more, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“By making smart decisions, motorists can help avoid the tragedies that follow driving impaired,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, patrol superintendent. “Things like planning ahead and designating a sober driver can save lives.”

Troopers also urge drivers to buckle up, as safety belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives nationwide in 2012, according to NHTSA. During the 2013 Fourth of July holiday, four of the six individuals killed in Ohio were not wearing safety belts.

Motorists are encouraged to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.