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*Updated Location* Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: MPD Focused on Traffic Safety and Impaired Driving Over Fourth of July Weekend

The Metropolitan Police Department is reminding drivers to safeguard your freedom, and the lives of others, by committing to sober driving on this Independence Day weekend. MPD is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help prevent tragedies previously seen around the July 4th holiday by focusing on preventing impaired and distracted driving over the holiday weekend.

 

MPD’s continued focus on traffic safety comes after the District of Columbia saw an increase in traffic fatalities in 2023. As the District of Columbia continues to work towards preventing all fatal and serious injury crashes through the citywide Vision Zero initiative, MPD is focused on making sure drivers stay safe while on the roads and addressing drivers who put others at risk.

 

In each of MPD’s seven districts, officers are detailed to focus solely on traffic enforcement and education to drivers who are under the influence, distracted, or driving in an unsafe manner.

 

“We want everyone to enjoy themselves with all that the District of Columbia has to offer for the Fourth of July weekend,” said Interim Chief of Police Ashan Benedict. “MPD has zero tolerance for people who get behind the wheel if they are impaired, distracted, or put others at risk by their unsafe driving.”

 

Beyond officers at each district on traffic enforcement and education, MPD will conduct a High-Visibility Traffic Safety Compliance Checkpoint between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, in the 2100 block of 14th Street, Northwest.

 

The primary purpose of MPD’s Traffic Safety Compliance Checkpoint checkpoints is to promote public safety by taking suspected impaired drivers off the road. MPD reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies. MPD plans to continue focusing on traffic safety throughout the summer and additional Traffic Safety Compliance Checkpoints are being planned.

 

Remember: a few dollars spent on a ride is a lot cheaper than a DUI, which can cost up to $10,000. Something else to consider: Don’t ever be too proud or embarrassed to ask for a ride. Allowing a sober driver to help you get home safely keeps you and others safe. What’s more embarrassing than drunkenly asking for a sober ride home? Spending the night in jail. Having your car impounded. Losing your job or your security clearance. Take your pick.

 

No one should mix drinking and driving, and no one is immune to the effects of drunk driving. If you find yourself drunk and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home. Remind your friends to never get in the vehicle with a drunk driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive drunk, take away their keys and help them get home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone — they’ll thank you later. Always have a plan before you head out for the evening. If you wait until after you’ve been drinking to figure out how to get from one place to the next, you will already be too impaired to make the right choices.

 

If you see someone driving unsafely, call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

During this weekend’s Traffic Safety Compliance Checkpoint, MPD officers will also be on the lookout for unsafe and distracted drivers and will educate drivers on other observed violations so they can stay safe on our roadways.

 

The Metropolitan Police Department is committed to our partnerships with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT), and US Department of Transportation to make the roadways in our communities a safe place for everyone.