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This year we celebrate Independence on a Monday. That means the holiday weekend kicks off on Friday, offering an extended weekend to gather with family and friends at our homes, the community pool and the neighborhood park.

It also means an extended weekend to face the threat posed by motorists who are driving after drinking.

July 4th fell on a Friday two years ago.  According to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration, 397 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the July 4th weekend in 2014.  Of those 397 fatalities, 41 percent of those killed – or 164 people – were in collisions involving at least one driver with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.  113 of those folks died in crashes involving at least one driver with a BAC of 0.15 – or nearly twice the legal limit to drive a vehicle in the State of Missouri.

Last year, 14 people were killed and 427 injured in 953 crashes on Missouri roads over the July 4th weekend.  One person was killed or injured every 10.6 minutes.  In 2015, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers arrested 127 people for driving while intoxicated.

The evening hours are especially dangerous because of drunk drivers. Over the 2014 July 4th weekend, 42% of drivers in fatal crashes after 6 p.m. were alcohol-impaired compared to 12% of drivers in fatal crashes that occurred before 6 p.m.

Don’t lose your independence this weekend. Be smart and safe:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins
  • Designate a sober driver or use public transportation to safely get home from your celebration
  • Use ride programs available in your community, including ride-sharing services like Uber
  • Report suspected drunk drivers to law enforcement
  • Commit to driving 100% sober

Driving impaired is never worth the risk to you, your family and others on the road. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them find other arrangements to safely travel.

Motorists who need assistance or who witness criminal activity on Missouri’s roads may contact the Highway Patrol by calling the Patrol Emergency Report Line at: (800) 525-5555 or by dialing *55 on a cellular phone.


Matt Devoti is a partner with Casey & Devoti, a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm.  He handles a variety of personal injury cases, with a special emphasis on victims of impaired, drunk or distracted driving.  Matt and his law partner, Matt Casey, are also authorized speakers for’s ‘End Distracted Driving Student Awareness Initiative’.  To learn more, go to


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