As we anticipate the Fourth of July and all the festivities that surround it, keep in mind that the summer holiday is traditionally one of the worst when it comes to drunken drivers in Minnesota.
The state Department of Public Safety says on average, 471 drivers will be arrested for DWI and eight motorists will be seriously injured in an alcohol-related crashes on July 4.
Along with the dangers of drunken-driving, speeding is a growing concern among law enforcement. Speed-related fatalities in Minnesota last year rose above 100 for the first time since 2008.
Nice weather also means more motorcycles on the road. Speed is a top factor in single-vehicle motorcycle crashes in the state, according to the DPS.
Revelers should plan accordingly and find a sober, responsible driver who can get everyone home safely without ignoring the speed limit. Officers from more than 300 agencies across the state are doing their part to try to make that happen by stepping up patrols until July 21 to catch speeders.
And although the new hands-free cellphone law doesn’t take effect until Aug. 1, drivers should get in the habit of putting down their phones and paying more attention to the road.
Independence Day with its festivals, parades and get-togethers at the lake are cause for celebration — but with the caveat that drinkers shouldn’t be drivers and non-distracted drivers should take their time getting to destinations.