Ft. Lauderdale, FL-The Fourth of July is America’s favorite holidays and is celebrated with gusto. An average of 44 million Americans—more than the past seven years– will travel to watch fireworks, barbeque and be with their friends and family. And the majority of those travelers will reach their destinations by car. While there are many things to celebrate on Independence Day, there is a darker side to the holiday, fatal drunken driving accidents.

The National Safety Council estimates that 173 people will lose their lives in drunken driving accidents this year. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, an average of 127.4 people are killed in drunk driving accidents over the Fourth of July holiday which starts on July 2nd and ends July 6th. An additional 17, 300 people will suffer non-fatal injuries.

The nighttime is the most dangerous time on the road for all motorists and the drunken drivers are really drunk. According to the NHTSA, drunken drivers involved in fatal crashes during the holiday weekend are an average of 2.5 times more intoxicated.

Because the Fourth of July and drunk driving traffic fatalities go hand in hand, law enforcement agencies across the country will increase patrols and set up DUI checkpoints in heavily traveled areas.

In states like Texas, Florida and Oregon, if you’re stopped at a checkpoint you can’t refuse a sobriety test. Drivers police suspect are under the influence have no choice than to submit to a sobriety test, police can get a warrant on the spot to compel you to submit to a breath or blood test.

These safety tips can help you have a safe and happy Independence Day:

Before you get drunk enlist a designated driver or make a plan to get home at night.

If loved one is intoxicated and decide they are going to drive, take away their keys and help them get home safely.

Drive defensively by eliminating distractions, traveling at safe speeds and being conscientious of the motorists you are sharing the road with. Don’t let road rage take get the best of you.

If you happen to see a drunk driver, call the police, and give them a description of the vehicle and tag number if possible. Your observations are enough to justify a traffic stop. You could very well save your or someone else’s life.

If you want to keep a DUI attorney out of the equation for this Fourth of July, don’t drink and drive. It’s that easy. If you’re drunk and need a ride call a cab, call a friend, take public transportation or crash on someone’s couch, but don’t get behind the wheel for your car.

Most people know they shouldn’t drink and drive but intoxicated people aren’t known for making sound and reasonable decisions. Most drunken people think they are perfectly fine to driver even when they are over the legal limit. If make the mistake of driving while impaired this Fourth of July weekend and get charged with a DUI then you need to enlist the services of a DUI attorney in your area, immediately.