Zion National Park will enhance the enforcement of impaired driving over the Fourth of July weekend through expanded DUI checkpoints and increased road patrols. Acting Superintendent Cindy Purcell stated, “Rangers in the National Parks have two essential missions. One is to preserve and protect natural and cultural resources in perpetuity. The other is to provide for the safe enjoyment of those resources by visitors.”
Impaired driving crashes killed more than 10,000 people in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. That’s an average of one alcohol impaired driving fatality every 51 minutes. Additionally, the number of overall drunk-driving-crash fatalities increased by 4.6 percent in the United States between 2011 and 2012. This startling trend must be reversed.
The percentage of deaths from impaired driving spike around the Fourth of July. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the tragic reality is that drunk driving isn’t a new concern: during the Fourth of July holiday periods from 2008 to 2012, there were 765 people killed in impaired-driving crashes.
Zion National Park’s enforcement is aimed to keep all visitors, local residents, and wildlife safe on the park’s roads. Impaired driving in Zion is especially dangerous due to the narrow roads, steep drop-offs and sharp turns. Purcell said “Alcohol impairs many of the skills that safe driving requires, especially on the unique roadways within Zion National Park. In an effort to protect visitors and park resources, we will show zero tolerance, and anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher will be arrested.”
Zion National Park rangers wish for all visitors to have an enjoyable July Fourth Holiday. This should include driving safe and sober or appointing a designated driver for those who have over indulged.