Police agencies throughout our area will have increased patrols out on highways during this Independence Day weekend. Why? Because of the likelihood that the holiday weekend will prompt more people to drink and drive.
Undoubtedly, the police are right. The Fourth of July weekend is a time when many area residents celebrate, taking advantage of the summer weather to enjoy picnics, cookouts and other types of outdoor gatherings.
Often, one of the features of such parties is lots and lots of alcohol. And more than likely, the partying started as early as Thursday night this week, but that doesn't mean our warning should fall on deaf ears.
Most of the time, that's no problem. But some revelers will partake of too much beer, wine or liquor - then get behind the wheels of their cars and trucks and drive home. Many of them will be transporting their families, including children.
Quite a few of the DUI offenders on the roads this weekend will be people who, for much of the year, wouldn't even think of driving while intoxicated. But, hey, once a year won't hurt anything, will it?
Probably not, for most of the DUI offenders. Luck will smile upon them and they will reach their destinations unharmed. But they will have put themselves, their families and other motorists at risk - and a few of them will have accidents. We pray that their crashes are all of the fender-bender variety.
Law enforcement officers will have no tolerance for DUI offenders - and they shouldn't. Those who drink too much and drive take thousands of lives needlessly each year in the United States.
If you are planning to travel and enjoy a gathering at which alcohol is served, we plead with you to do so responsibly. If you're going to drive after celebrating, hold your consumption of alcohol to a limit that will ensure you are not intoxicated - either by your own definition or that of the law. Better still, don't drink at all. Or, if you do consume a few beers, have someone who hasn't indulged drive home. Don't take any chances with your safety, that of your loved ones or that of the public.
If you do, you will richly deserve the DUI citation law enforcement officers may issue to you.