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Risk of DUI crashes increase over 4th of July weekend

If you are like many Illinois residents, you have some fun plans to celebrate the Independence Day this weekend. You may be heading out to a cabin, spending the long weekend at a loved one's house outside of Illinois or just relaxing with your friends at a backyard barbecue right here at home.

Whatever your plans may be, however, it is crucial to remember that this time of year comes with some serious risks that can drastically change a person's life. One of the biggest risks that seem to go hand-in-hand with the 4th of July is drinking and driving.

Drinking is not uncommon during holidays, especially when a holiday also comes with a long weekend. People are off of work and wanting to relax and celebrate. Parties, barbecues, parades, firework shows and all kinds of events that happen around Independence Day typically involve alcohol to some degree.

Because of this, police officers in Illinois and across the country regularly crack down on enforcing DUI laws. They increase patrols and set up checkpoints; they stop more drivers and are more suspicious of behaviors that could suggest intoxication.

Unfortunately, these efforts cannot prevent every drunk driver from getting behind the wheel and causing a serious accident. In fact, nearly 40 percent of the fatal accidents that happen over the July 4th weekend involve drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There are very simple ways to avoid causing a drunk driving accident, like finding a safe, sober ride home. But trying to avoid getting hit by a drunk driver can be all but impossible. Victims of DUI accidents may not see a drunk driver coming; they may not be able to anticipate the actions of a drunk driver; in some cases, there is no way to get out of a drunk drivers way in the seconds before a crash.

While victims may not be able to avoid drunk drivers, they can hold them accountable for damages. If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in an accident with an intoxicated driver this weekend, you need to remember that drunk drivers can and should be held accountable for their reckless and completely preventable behaviors.

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