Americans love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks, but too often alcohol turns the party into a tragedy, making the holiday one of the most deadly days of the year on the nation’s highways.That’s why this Fourth of July the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department is stepping up police enforcement throughout the city as part of the ongoing “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement crackdown to catch and arrest impaired drivers who put themselves and others at risk.

“Local police will be out in force throughout this Independence Day, on the lookout for motorists who have had too much alcohol to be behind the wheel of a vehicle,” said Sgt. Sam McJunkins. “Police will have zero tolerance for alcohol scofflaws who drink and drive this July 4th, putting themselves and everyone else on the roadways at risk of life and limb.”

The percentage of fatalities from impaired driving spike around the Fourth of July. And young drivers still aren’t getting the message about the dangers of drinking and driving. During the July 4th holiday period in 2011, more than half (52 percent) of young drivers 18 to 34 years old killed in alcohol-related crashes were legally drunk.

Texarkana Arkansas Police recommends these simple tips for a safe Fourth of July:

• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver;

• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;

• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact 911.

• And remember, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

• For more information, please visit nhtsa.gov/drivesober or the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department online at txkusa.org/arkpolice.