Bay Area drivers express concern about road safety, drunk drivers during 4th of July

Police throughout the Bay Area say they stepped up patrols tonight in an effort to thwart people who may be driving under the influence. Last year, 44 people died in car crashes across the state July 4th weekend.

In 2021, more than 500 people died in car crashes across the country during 4th of July weekend. As always, law enforcement says people should get a designated driver instead of getting behind the wheel.

"Yeah I’ll probably go to a barbeque later tonight, but yeah, I’m pretty scared that there are people drunk driving," said Stan, who was getting gas at the Shell Station on Berryessa Road and Lundy in San Jose.

As people celebrate Independence Day, concerns about being on the road, especially at night, can put a damper on holiday fun. California Highway Patrol says this time last year, they arrested nearly 1,000 drivers for driving under the influence.

"So when I’m going to be out driving all the time, I don’t drink if I’m driving. Or at least if I drink a couple of beers, I get my wife to drive because she’s sober," said Roberto, who was drying his car off after washing it at the gas station.

On Monday, San Jose Police say just before midnight, a man crashed his car into a home and nearby tree on 2nd Street and Hollywood Ave. Police say they believe he was driving under the influence, and he was arrested at the scene. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.

This driver told us it’s just not worth it to drive your car when you know you’ve been drinking.

"Usually everybody just takes Lyft or Uber. It’s safer that way. And there’s no parking in the neighborhood, so that’s much smarter," Stan said.  

Last year, 39% of July 4th weekend crashes in the U.S. involved alcohol. Still this driver told us he doesn’t worry about driving during a holiday weekend, but he does take precautions.

"If I need to go somewhere, I’m not particularly scared of it. I just put enough distance between me and the person in front of me. So I have enough time to see what’s about to happen," said Jay Reed of San Jose.

Police are encouraging people to stay off the road and not to get behind the wheel if you’re under the influence. If you see someone who looks like they’re driving erratically, immediately call 911 – you just may save someone’s life.


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