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To promote the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, the Portage County Safe Communities coalition will be at the westbound service plaza on the Ohio Turnpike in Freedom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 29.
Safe Communities and local and state law enforcement are preparing for the July 4 holiday period, which lasts from 6 p.m. June 30 through 5:59 a.m. July 5, when police officers, deputies and troopers will be doing aggressive enforcement and showing zero tolerance for impaired driving.
Though is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 146 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 or higher during the 4th of July holiday period in 2015.
During that same time, 92 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .15 or higher.
In 2015, NHTSA data also shows that motorcycle operators represented the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes, with more than a third of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes having a BAC of .08 or higher, Also, 46 percent of young drivers (ages 18 to 34 years) who were killed in traffic crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher. the rate of impairment among drivers in fatal crashes was over three times higher at night than during the day.
"These statistics are alarming and preventable," said Lt. Antonio Matos, commander of the Ravenna post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. "Law Enforcement will continuously enforce all traffic laws and will aggressively enforce the zero tolerance 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign during the 4th of July holiday period to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths."
Lynette Blasiman, project director of Portage County Safe Communities, reminds everyone to always wear a seat belt, never text and drive, and only drive sober.
Portage County Safe Communities is a program of the Portage County Health Department.