REFUGIO COUNTY – This Independence Day, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Watch UR BAC and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) want to remind drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

Unfortunately, summertime festivities can create dangerous road conditions, as some drivers hit the streets after drinking alcoholic beverages.

Make sure to celebrate the birth of America safely. Drivers found under the influence of any substance, and still recklessly choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, put everyone on the road in danger, including themselves.

According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, drunk driving accounted for 29% (10,511) of motor vehicle traffic crash deaths in 2018. With Fourth of July celebration wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more vehicles will be on the road at night. In 2018 alone, 193 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July Fourth holiday period (6 p.m., July 3, to 5:59 a.m., July 5). Of those, 40% (78) occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This compares to 2017, when 38% of the July Fourth holiday period fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

Refugio County has partnered with NHTSA to help remind drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Under no circumstance is it ever OK to drink and drive. This behavior is illegal, it is deadly, and it is selfish. Do everyone in your community a favor: If you’ve been drinking at a Fourth of July party, or for any occasion, find a sober ride home,” reminds Boogie Barber, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Community Health Agent, Refugio County.

During the Fourth of July holiday, make sure to plan for a safe weekend of festivities.

If someone is drunk or high, or even a little buzzed: Stay off the roads. Drunk driving is deadly. If someone plans to be the sober driver, then don’t indulge – friends are relying on you.

Remember these tips for a safe night on the roads:

• It is never OK to drink and drive. Even if someone has had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.

• If someone sees a drunk driver on the road, contact the Refugio County Sheriff Department at 361-526-2351.

• Does someone have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get home safely.

This Fourth of July commit to driving 100% sober – Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.