If you drink this Fourth of July, stay off the road

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jul 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 18:13:15-04

CINCINNATI -- The American Automobile Association expects more than 37 million Americans to gas up their cars and travel to Fourth of July celebrations in 2017, according to a news release.

It's a record number of travelers -- but there are some people, said to Uber and Lyft driver Stephanie Jones, who should keep themselves far away from the wheel when they celebrate.

Although she's glad to stay busy on big holidays like the Fourth, Jones said a large majority of passengers she shuttles around on those days are inebriated. 

"I actually picked up someone from the police station after getting a DUI," she said. "It was kind of wild, and I was thinking, ‘You should've called Uber in the first place.'"

But DUIs exist to protect drivers from fatal crashes, about 118 of which happen on the Fourth of July each year, according to AAA.

Mike Belcuore of AAA Driving Schools said it's common for partygoers to overindulge on days like this one.

"It ranks right up there with New Year's Eve, where everybody puts celebration first," he said.

He and Jones both encouraged anyone planning to go out Tuesday night to be alert and careful -- and, if they drink, to make sure a sober driver can take them home at the end of the night.

Jones said she planned to do her part by driving safely and defensively with her passengers in tow.

"I know there's going to be people out there drunk driving as well as drunk walking, so you go a little slower," she said. "You look around and pay attention to what's going on around you."